INTERVIEW WITH JAY BARRY MATTHEWS by GNAM BOX
Tell us more about SOLO.. When did you start thinking about that?
On a recent trip to Berlin I caught up with co-curator Zoe Keogh and we decided it would be a great idea to do a show for a new space she was managing at Engels in Neukölln, Berlin. The show started out as a solo, just my work, then we saw a great opportunity and exciting way to expand on that by inviting other artists to make work about an unknown solo, me. I love to collaborate so we went for it. I took one of the pictures I am exhibiting immediately after that meeting, it was quite inspiring.
How did you choose the artists of SOLO?
You can throw a stone in any direction and hit an artist but we wanted to invite artists that were excited about the shows concept and that we really believed in their practice. Some of these artists I know personally and others not at all, we wanted to balance those two dynamics to see how it affected the content of the overall show. It was also important to look at getting a cross section from Berlin and London, the two cities this show spans. Though we did sneak in some internationals for good measure.
You are based in London… how do you live the art scene?
I am still hacking away at it with an axe, I am going to eke out my own niche because I think there needs to be room for more in London, its quite restricted. Look out 2012.
Why Berlin and not London?
Berlin is much more open to new ideas, there are great artist run spaces like Engles and initiative like Überflug for which Zoe Keogh curates. This show is an exciting experiment for all involved and to keep that energy alive, Berlin was the best choice. That said, you can look forward to this show popping up in London next year sometime. This is an ongoing project.
When and how did you meet the co-curator Zoe Keogh?
Zoe and I have a great understanding; we come from the same strange isolated part of the world so part of that is inherent. We have not seen each other in so many years but through the wonders of the internet and cheap flights we have managed to reconnect. There has always been that mutual excitement and enthusiasm when we get together which is making the process of this show so fun and exciting.
What do you love the most in her art?
Zoe’s art is astounding, her illustration makes me so excited, however this time she is flexing her muscles as a curator and I really believe in that side of her practice. She is a phenomenal woman so she can do many things well!
Explain us your concept of art
Art is about communication, its there to change the world, open people up, their minds, bodies, hearts, spirits. Its all political to me. You need to get inside people and I don’t want to fuck everyone, I needed another way. Ha!
Where do you get your inspiration?
The answer to that question could take years. However in this case, the show is self-reflexive so I didn’t have to look very far. HAHA!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Applying for my European passport so I can stay in this hemisphere creating and collaborating on more art, I just never tire of it.
What are you passions?
Are we going on a date? Hehe.
There is nothing more exciting than someone with passion so I am attracted to it in others as much as I am glad its part of my functioning. Mainly learning and exploring so my art practice is so important to me its where I contribute to the world and also a means to indulge in it.
How do you live the process of creations of your costumes?
Costume is very closely linked to me and my practice. My work often employs costume as a communicative device. You will see some evidence of that in the show in my work and in some of the other artists. So come on down and get involved!
Are you a great cook?
Oh yes I love to cook, it calms me down. I like to do it in a costume or nude, it adds some excitement and danger to the process.
What’s your favorite dish?
My favorite dish is this crazy think my mum used to cook, its quite a bizarre simple meal involving tuna and rice. It makes my heart melt to eat it and think of her and my brothers.
Thanks a lot Jay, this interview is very inspiring for us.
Hope to can cook together in our kitchen soon!
‘SOLO - A Group Effort’
An exhibition of works about one man, by many artists.
Location: Engels - Herrfurthstr. 21 // Neukölln
Time: Friday, November 25 at 7:00pm - December 16 at 7:00pm
DENISE PALMA FERRANTE
CHRISTOS KAPRALOS www.homoanarchy.tumblr.com
MARCUS KEATING www.marcuskeating.com
ALI KEPENEK www.alikepenek.com
JACOB LOVE www.jacoblove.net
YOM MASSALOUX www.yommassaloux.com
JAY BARRY MATTHEWS www.jaybarrymatthews.com
PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA www.paulsepuya.com
CATHAL O’BRIEN www.ilovecathal.com
- photography, video, drawing, collage, installation, performance -