And the winner…
…of the Hatton Showcase: Design For A Touring Pavilion 2017…
Oh get on with it
Cue shot of tearful artist receiving the crown and a kiss from last year’s winner before teetering down the catwalk to embark upon a year-long programme of travelling the world to spread peace, love and harmony (and if time, defeat the forces of Evil and Injustice).
OK, the announcement was a bit more restrained than that (we put it on the website). However it did necessitate Paterson attending a press conference and fielding questions from the artistically cerebral to the frankly just plain odd (‘What would you like on your gravestone?’), which unsurprisingly did stump him somewhat (although my personal favourite is ‘Well this sucks’).
Showcase is an external art installation designed to promote the Hatton during its closure, and will be located outside various Newcastle and Gateshead cultural venues from March to August 2017. An initial open call to artists resulted in three proposals being shortlisted, with Paterson’s being selected following an exhibition at the Laing that featured his design along with those of local artist Catrin Huber and a joint submission by Harriet Sutcliffe and Jack Mutton.
Paterson’s winning entry has had to tick a range of boxes: reference the Hatton’s collection and history, contain an interactive element to engage visitors and stand up as an art installation in its own right. And all this while being robust enough to cope with six months of touring, constant exposure to the elements and unsupervised visitor response, or what Paterson refers to as being ‘Friday-night proof’.
One feature of his proposal was the work of Victor Pasmore, artist and Head of Painting at Newcastle University from 1954-1961, in particular his design for the Apollo Pavilion, Peterlee in 1969:
Paterson first saw the Apollo when he visited the site in 1998 and views Pasmore as one of the major figures of British abstract art: ‘He’s right up there in my top five. He constantly challenged himself, completely upending the way he was working and we don’t give him enough credit for that.’ The design for Showcase features concrete blocks (‘a little nod to Pasmore’s Pavilion’) and steel uprights, which Paterson is confident should be sturdy enough to ‘stop the shenanigans’.
Since graduating from the Glasgow School of Art in 1995, Paterson’s creations have included several outdoor installations:
‘I like people to interact with the works… Pasmore’s Pavilion was very consciously functional and while my Powder Blue Pavilion didn’t appear to be anything specific, I was there once when it was sunny and some kids had been playing in the fountains nearby – their mums had hung their t-shirts on the structure to dry and I thought “Yes! We did it!”’.
Another way Paterson hopes visitors will engage with Showcase is through a display of replica posters for Hatton exhibitions dating back to the sixties: ‘It’s a very visible connection with the gallery’s history and collection, and because we’ll be changing them every few days, hopefully people will keep coming back’.
While delighted to win the Showcase commission, Paterson now has to deal with the many challenges of turning his concept into a full-scale touring installation: ‘At the moment we’re between “Great we get to do this!” and “Oh, how are we going to do this?”. But problems can force you to be more creative – there’s nothing more terrifying for an artist than having complete freedom to do whatever you want’.
The Hatton Gallery Capital development is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.