Paula Morison showed one of her latest projects with The Pole Gallery, a nomadic gallery in an empty Perspex sign holder. Usually based in London, this summer The Pole Gallery migrated to Paris, showing the work by Paula Morison next to Seine. For this mini exhibition the artist collected online images and weather reports relating to the North Pole and presenting these to the public. She is interested in how we, as individuals, can relate to huge and complex concerns such as climate change, especially when, in many places, these issues can seem to be separate from our everyday life. This first image is taken from Google Maps and is a satellite image she collected whilst spying on the North Pole from her living room.
The inaugural Pole Gallery exhibition opened on February 8th 2019 with works by photographer and filmmaker Raf Fellner. The founder Orfeo Tagiuri was completing his MA at the Slade and he noticed that a lot of his favourite works were the smaller sketches and scrawled ideas that served as preparation for the larger, more 'serious' final works. The loose approach with which these works were made gave them a sort of intimate luminosity and Orfeo was curious about finding a way to celebrate them.
We asked Orfeo about this unusual project:
“I had been working on several projects that involved bringing artworks outside of the white-walled comfort of a studio/traditional art space to see how the works could be charged by the larger context within which they were made. One project 'Walking Home' involved carrying a large painting of a house from my studio back to my flat about 1.5 hours away. As Daniel Buren says 'Every place radically imbues (formally, architecturally, sociologically, politically) with its meaning the object shown there.'
As light-hearted as The Pole Gallery may appear the project also emerged with a sense of frustration at the apparent disconnect between the contemporary art world and the experience of everyday life. The gallery presents artworks to a public who are not necessarily looking for art and as such excessively conceptual/opaque ideas that might flower under the protected calm of other settings are often lost on the street. I am curious about ways in which art can sculpt and engage with the mundane aspects of daily routine in an immediate way.
Throughout London the local councils often indicate upcoming building works with printed A4 signs mounted in transparent perspex frames that are then zip-tied to traffic poles. This is the exact format The Pole Gallery takes and so the blueprint for the project had already been established. One day I noticed that one of these frames had been left vacant just a couple meters from my home and it seemed a perfect opportunity.
Following the initial exhibit we continued to invite new artists each week to display works in The Pole Gallery. Since I live nearby there is the possibility of rotating the works on display once per day. Usually we work with the artist to select 1 to 7 artworks that will be shown over the course of the week. The Pole Gallery aims to serve as a platform for projects that might be outside of the traditional body of work by the artists we are celebrating.
The Pole Gallery has only been stolen once. This happened while we were showing prints by the artist Ella Laurie, which to her credit were so attractive that somebody cut off the entire frame. Since this date the gallery has been based at the corner of Ladbroke Grove and Chesterton Road (W10 6HG). This summer I was traveling a lot but fortunately the gallery is relatively compact enabling us to show works in places like Seoul, Paris and Tuscany.
So far we have shown a total of 24 different artists and have many upcoming shows in the works.”