Tag Archives: cardiff contemporary

Cardiff Contemporary Visual Arts Festival is here! 20 Oct – 19 Nov

Cardiff Contemporary, the Welsh capital’s biennial festival of international contemporary arts starts THIS WEEK! From Thursday 20 October – Saturday 19 November 2016.

The 2016 theme of communication, and title, Are You Ready? references Marconi’s breakthrough radio signal, made from Flat Holm Island to Lavernock Point in 1897.


Ten new artist’s commissions include the activation of a permanent sculpture on Cardiff’s waterfront and the re-appropriation of two derelict city landmarks, where artists will communicate ideas globally and through space and time.

Thirty-one days of artistic challenge and discovery opens across the Welsh capital on Thursday 20 October 2016 as Cardiff Contemporary gets underway for its fourth edition. Drawing together international and Wales-based artists to charge the city streets, galleries, forgotten spaces and communities with the crackle of new and exciting ideas in multi-disciplinary visual, sonic and performance arts. The theme of ‘communication’ looms large, as artists and audiences are urged to look beyond earth, through time and to each other for clues, answers and inspiration.

Taking in historic sites from the city centre to Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Contemporary will find its focus in a temporary hub, ‘The Angel’ developed to include four new gallery spaces across a derelict, former motorcycle garage beneath the city’s Angel Hotel. From here brand new commissions will radiate across Cardiff, including impressive new public sculpture along one of Cardiff’s most public landmarks, a takeover of the imposing-yet-defunct Customs and Immigration Building at Cardiff Bay for an exhilarating, public reclamation and an un-missable light sculpture in the heart of the city centre.

Artists and groups confirmed include: Megan Broadmeadow, Laura Ford, Roman Štětina with curator Louise Hobson, Robert Montgomery, Heather and Ivan Morison, Anthony Shapland, Rob Smith and Charles Danby, tactileBOSCH, Spit & Sawdust with Edwin Burdis and a collaboration between Locus Collective (Richard James, Angharad Van Rjiswijk), comedian and writer, Stewart Lee and Andy Fung. Cardiff Contemporary is a Cardiff Council initiative, developed by Visual Arts Manager, Ruth Cayford.

The themes and overarching title for the festival, ‘Are You Ready?’ is a direct reference to the residency of Guglielmo Marconi in the city. As an exile from Italy where his pioneering vision was met with scepticism, he was supported by the British Post Office to develop his experiments into radio communications technology. Assisted by local engineer, George Kemp, Marconi succeeded in transmitting those three, immortal words in Morse code from Flat Holm Island in the Bristol Channel to Lavernock Point, Glamorgan on 13 May 1897. Just four years later, the pair succeeded in the first transatlantic radio transmission. Artists have been asked to consider this history and the modern age of instant and relentless communication in developing new work.

Creating a period of city-wide, creative celebration, Cardiff Contemporary coincides with Artes Mundi 7 art prize and exhibition (opening Friday 21 October at National Museum Cardiff and Chapter) and the city-wide Sŵn Music Festival (Friday 21 – Sunday 23 October, various venues).

Cardiff Contemporary Facebook page


Commissions, exhibitions and events announced as part of Cardiff Contemporary 2016 to date are as follows:

Megan Broadmeadow: Let The Stars Be Set Upon the Board

Reportedly discovered in 1901, the same year as Marconi’s transatlantic radio transmission, the Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient, bronze instrument of multiple, moving parts described as the earliest analogue computer. Bristol-based artist, Megan Broadmeadow will use this seismic archaeological discovery as the basis for a new sculptural work, simultaneously reflecting on the mechanism’s resting place at the bottom of the Mediterranean and the ancient Egyptian and Greek civilisations that it is related to.

Laura Ford: Keepers of The Wall

Laura Ford’s sculptures, combining tenderness, fantasy with frequent signs of menace to relay political or social comment, will bring something suddenly and mysteriously new to a Cardiff city centre landmark. This project will remain purposely under wraps, exercising the art of surprise.

Roman Štětina: Shave and a haircut – two bits

Czech artist Roman Štětina investigates the processes of creating film, television and radio; making visible the props, technologies and studios of ‘backstage’. At Cardiff Contemporary, Štětina presents a new site-specific installation curated by Louise Hobson. Exploring the narrative of call and response, images within images stretch back in time and space, reflecting in a present that has no more thickness than a mirror.

Robert Montgomery: Cardiff Poem 2016

Beautifully capturing the convergence of prose and visual art, Robert Montgomery’s work in neon, fire, billboards, painting and print has written deeply-affecting statements large across public spaces from Trafalgar Square, London to Tempelhof Field, Berlin. Montgomery will make his latest statement in central Cardiff, illuminating resident’s and visitor’s journeys with an intervention from on high that invites a moment of reflection.

Heather and Ivan Morison: Love Me or Leave Me Alone (LMOLMA)

Combining to deliver work that transcends the divisions between art, architecture and theatre, the duo of Heather and Ivan Morison will activate Cardiff’s waterfront with their first, permanent public building. Located at Cardiff Bay, the meticulously sculpted structure, inspired by stave churches of Norway – a country inextricably linked by historic trade to Cardiff – and ad hoc beach shacks of 1960s West Coast America will appear as a functional food and drink outlet. Love Me or Leave Me Alone will play host to a programme of special events curated by Chapter on Saturday evenings during the festival.

Anthony Shapland: The Hand That Makes The Sound

Signwriting is an art form that is dying out and one of the most common forms of communication spanning the birth of trade and commercialism as we know it. Cardiff-based artist, Anthony Shapland is exploring the art and one of the city’s oldest surviving practitioners of the trade, whose own, physical canon of works has been gradually eroded by the advancement of regeneration, knocking down the workshops and traditional retailers that once proudly bore the fruits of his labour.

Charles Danby and Rob Smith: Limelight

A project that arrives in Cardiff courtesy of PEAK – Contemporary Art in the Black Mountains – and the Canal & River Trust, Charles Danby and Rob Smith return to the rural heartlands above the city, encountering the canals, quarries, tramways, caves and kilns that fed the heavy industries that roared in South Wales. For Limelight, the artists will use digital means to bring reflections on this history to contemporary audiences by streaming a series of live illuminations to a city centre location and online. The material for their work will be limelight itself, an intense white light generated through heating quicklime used in the 19th century for land survey work and stage lighting. Each broadcast will last as long as it takes for the chemical reaction to be exhausted.

tactileBOSCH: Garden of Earthly Delights

Borrowing directly from a masterpiece by the artist collective’s namesake, Hieronymus Bosch, the Garden of Earthly Delights promises a vibrant, prodigious and inclusive multi-media exhibition in the old Customs and Immigration Building, a vast disused building in the historic area of Cardiff Bay, later reconfiguring their work to be presented again in Stadium Plaza in the city centre. Their invigoration of a long-abandoned landmark will be a ‘gesamtkunstwerk’, gathering collaborators together to include site-specific installation, video, painting, photography, sonic art, interdisciplinary collaborations and spontaneous interventions, starting with a wild launch night of live music, cabaret, spoken word and visceral performance art.

Locus Collective (Richard James and Angharad Van Rjiswijk) featuring Stewart Lee and Andy Fung: The Hill of Dreams

An audio-visual, immersive installation based on the psychogeography of childhood and the wider themes explored in Arthur Machen’s book, The Hill of Dreams, Richard and Angharad will travel to locations of their childhood in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and the southern Netherlands to record the landscapes that defined their childhoods. The pair’s collaborative suite of footage, field recordings and archive material will be embellished by comedian and writer, Stewart Lee, recording an original, narrative piece for the audio installation and artist, Andy Fung who will paint an accompanying canvas that reflects on his Trinidadian upbringing.

Spit & Sawdust featuring Edwin Burdis

Occasionally a misunderstood and maligned fixture in city spaces, skateboarders and skate culture are set on a collaborative collision course with artists in a project that draws parallels between the two protagonists. As both visibly inhabit and frequently alter the city spaces that they use, the artist-led collaboration will look to the ‘internal’ language of skating, experimentation in using public space, the conventions by which skateboarders communicate and celebrate new skills and ideas and popular forms of documenting performances, primarily video, as part of this new work. The outcome is intended to be a timely discussion about how we exist in close proximity with others who may have different ideas or agendas.

Full information on each commission, dates, times and locations, plus further events including screenings, talks and workshops, will be published on Cardiff Contemporary’s website: www.cardiffcontemporary.co.uk

Connect with Cardiff Contemporary on social media:

Twitter: twitter.com/cardiffcontemp

Facebook: facebook.com/CardiffContemporary

Instagram: instagram.com/cardiff_contemporary



What to do in Cardiff this weekend: Cardiff Open Studios, 25/26 October 2014

October officially means Art in Cardiff these days… another instalment in the Cardiff Contemporary story this time, with a weekend of artists opening their studios and welcoming you in. All around the capital! And ALL FREE!

Here’s the blurb from them:

“Cardiff has a vibrant community of artists who choose this city as their creative home. Many of the artists exhibit nationally and internationally, while this weekend is a rare chance to see work in progress, meet artists and discuss ideas in these personal spaces. This map focuses on artist-run and individual spaces for visual and applied artists as part of Cardiff Contemporary. The theme of Cardiff Contemporary 2014 is Reveal/Conceal. This weekend is about revealing places and ideas that are usually concealed. We hope you enjoy the weekend exploring this usually hidden community in the city.

A free yellow map is available to locate the studios, indicate opening times and compliment your journey. There is space to add the names of artists whose work you like, a place to draw should you be inspired and the reverse is a poster for your wall or front window. While it is for the weekend, we hope you keep this map and place on your wall as part of discovering more about the Arts in Cardiff.



Click here to see: Cardiff Open Studios 2014 PDF – you can pick up physical maps from The Stute (next to The Abacus near Cardiff Central) or in Chapter.

My picks:

I haven’t had long to go through the map, but I’ve picked two places that I’ve been wanting to visit for ages….

Warwick Hall Studios Open/Ar agor: 10.00—18.00, Sat/Sadwrn + Sun/Sul
Banastre Avenue, Cardiff CF14 3NR
029 20 625 375
Residents: Matt Cook, Ellie Young, Jason Pinder, Freya Dooley, Christopher Holloway, Jamie Cross, Gabrielle Frazer, Richard James, Hillary Roberts, LightTrap Films, Anna Llewellyn, Alan Symmonds, Godmachine.

Hangover Lounge Open/Ar agor: 12.00—18.00, Sun/Sul
Spit & Sawdust Skate Park, Café & Artspace, Rhymney River Bridge Road, Cardiff CF23 9AF
029 20 494741
Residents: Becca Thomas, Sam Hasler
Studios Spaces Available Winter 2014/15 – call for info


See you in the Hangover Lounge on Sunday, yeah?



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Autumn art in the city: Cardiff Contemporary, 3/10-9/11 2014

Somehow we’ve crash landed in autumn in the city, and as you might have guessed from the title of this post: autumn means art in the city of Cardiff. The Cardiff Contemporary Festival has already started – apologies for not blogging about it sooner but it’s been a busy few weeks! Anyway, without further ado, let’s get on with laying out the Cardiff Contemporary Festival for you.

cardiff contemporary 2014

Cardiff Contemporary bills itself as a city-wide festival of contemporary arts, showcasing a programme of exhibition, events, and activities over  five weeks (see the image above if you don’t believe me). The theme for this year’s festival is Reveal/Conceal, and thus the festival takes art into the city’s arts centres, galleries, museums and iconic spaces, but also uses hidden or unknown sites, revealing the city in “fascinating and intriguing ways”.

Cardiff Contemporary makes use of the entire city as a space to experience art – from Central Station to the pages of South Wales Echo, you may find art anywhere.


There is absolutely shedloads going on in Cardiff Contemporary this year. I thought I’d pick out some of the things I’ll be trying to see. I’ve chosen things that are taking place in buildings you can’t normally get into, or events that seem to indicate some kind of interesting exchange between artist and visitors. Etc.

Read on!

CIVIC (4 October – 9 November, Cardiff Story Museum 11am-5pm)

CIVIC is an interactive display put together by a series of artists, inviting visitors to propose ideas and interventions for Cardiff. All visitors are invited to experiment with constructing and rebuilding their own cities using a variety of materials – to help you out, there are workshops in drawing, shadow puppetry, wireframe sculpture, and even a Phonebox Disco! (CIVIC – more info)


The Told and Untold Tour (11, 18, 25 October 2014)

The Told and Untold Tour is a weekly series of themed, artist-led mystery bus tours in Cardiff. Each weekend throughout October a selected artist with tannoy in hand will take participants on a journey through the city and its lesser-known points of intrigue. The Told and Untold Tour highlights the mystery of travelling, asking the passengers to let the artists lead in an educational leap of faith. The excitement of simply stepping on a bus to who-knows-where becomes a catalyst for exchange between artists and the public.

Pick up at Cathays Park, tours are as follows:

Saturday 11 October 2014, 2pm
Thomas Goddard ‘Nato in My Town’

Saturday 18 October 2014, 2pm
Roger Lougher

Saturday 25 October 2014, 2pm
Neil McNally ‘Far Off Things’

Tickets: Please call St David’s Hall Box Office on 02920 878444. Tickets are free but limited.


Sculpture Trail (3 October – 9 November 2014)

The works encountered on Matt Cook’s Sculpture Trail range from life-size abstract figures overlooking the canal, to discreet works concealed in the surroundings. The sculptures use natural processes such as wind and water to create sounds and movements that mimic those in the environment. Only a few minutes’ walk away from Cardiff city centre, the Feeder Canal walk is a world apart, a different time or place. The sculptures acknowledge this particular ambience, highlighting and merging with the natural sights and sounds to create a unique experience (more info).

Location: Docks Feeder Canal, parallel to Schooner Way (Little Venice)
Guided tour 12pm, Saturday 11 October 2014, starting from The ‘Stute’


Radio Nought (Wednesday 15–16 / 22–23 / 29–30 October and 5–6 November 2014, Radio Cardiff 98.7FM, 12am – 2am)

On this late night live radio programme, the lone voice of Samuel Hasler rambles and drones through oddities, clichés and strange tales: an exploration through the twilight zone of Cardiff. Broadcast live, a lone human voice in the night. Transmitted from the far horizons of the unknown, tune in for tales of dark debauchery, jumbled jokes, magnificent myths and experiments in excess, splurges of speech, tinkerings of time, and spooky, spinning space. These are stories of the near future and the distant past; adventures in which you’ll live through a million could-be nights in a thousand may-be cities.

With a rambling structure this set of live, late night, radio broadcasts will borrow heavily from the twilight zone, noir fiction, alternative humour and similar tropes. The broadcasts make use of their late night scheduling, to have freedom from conventional radio and to speculate about the strange types of people that might be listening. The programme is focused on a lone voice that digresses from and repeats a series of oddball autobiographical stories.


Paradise Lost (26 October – 7 November 2014, tactileBOSCH)

ParadiseLost unites established and emerging artists in one of Cardiff’s most iconic disused buildings. Painting, video, installation, sculpture, photography and live performance respond to the unique setting of the Customs and Immigration Building on Bute Street, in a fully immersive art experience organised by the great tactileBOSCH collective in celebration of the memory of Kim Fielding. (more info)

Location: Former Customs & Immigration Building, 56 Bute Street, Cardiff Bay, CF10 5LE, 12 – 5pm
Preview: Saturday 25 October 2014, 7 – 11pm




Bedazzled – A Welshman in New York (29 October – 1 November 2014, Cory Chambers)

Ffotogallery presents Bedazzled, a celebration of the special relationship Dylan Thomas had with the United States (New York in particular), and the enduring influence of his life and work on both sides of the Atlantic. In a series of live performances/installations, audience members are transported back to the 1950s world of bohemian New York where Dylan Thomas’ charisma and dramatic and lyrical use of language left all around him spellbound. Conceived by artistic director/curator David Drake, writer Ben Gwalchmai and composer John Rea (more info) (Facebook event page)

Location: Cory Chambers, 57 Bute Street, CF10 5LE
Tickets £12, concessions available (book at Ffotogallery’s website)



Art Hotel (7/9 November 2014, The Abacus)

The Art Hotel is an all inclusive hotel which specialises in holidays for makers and creators. All guests who stay at our hotel will arrive with a suitcase filled with all the necessities required to turn their hotel room into an art installation. The selected guests will be in residence for one week and on Friday the 7th of November the ArtHotel will open its doors to visitors for the whole weekend.

The public will have the chance to explore the artists suites as well as enjoy the Art Hotel facilities. These include, vacant art suites where you can create your very own piece of art, the lobby where there will be a cocktail bar and lounge area, and on Saturday the 8th of November the Art Hotel will be collaborating with Milgi to put on a supper club with live entertainment from our resident bands and vocal entertainers. Booking is required for the Supper club so please email info@milgilounge.com if you want to reserve a space. (Art Hotel Facebook event)



Like I said, there’s LOADS more on during the next couple of weeks in Cardiff Contemporary – if you’re brave enough, dive into the CC calendar, and if I’ve missed anything that you think looks particularly worthy, let me know in the comments.



Cardiff Contemporary website

Cardiff Contemporary Facebook page



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