Image: © Doug Peters - PA Wire
Three rules govern Array Collective: Welcome, host and treat others in a supporting, friendly way; get out and campaign with your local activist groups; and geg (have) a laugh. The Belfast-based collective were one of five nominees for the 2021 Turner Prize, creating work that focuses on community. In their protest and performance work textile banners and costumes make a regular appearance. But as for coordinating the eleven person collective? ‘There is a lot of trust to find the right space for people to express themselves, which is quite hard, especially in a group,’ Alessia Cargnelli admits.
Image: Array Collective work together to respond to issues affecting Northern Ireland © Doug Peters - PA Wire
Host of this year’s exhibition of prize nominees is the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry. Array Collective have installed a ‘pub’ fashioned from a composite of existing work. The ceiling is made from a canopy of pieced banners; costumes are draped on the hooks of a coat rack or precariously stuffed and propped. The aesthetic is irreverent and at times tongue-in-cheek: placed on the bartop is a plastic pineapple who wears an eye mask embroidered with the words ‘laissez-faire’– arguably the antithesis of collective values.
Video: Array Collective’s Artists Make Change presentation looks at how they use their access as artists to art spaces to platform and bring attention to particular issues.
Materially, the work presents a refreshing counterpoint to the exclusive cult of the slow. Grace McMurray explains, ‘As a collective, we work best when we are creating action. Sometimes our best work is that which we make just before a protest. The canopy that we made took us a month and a half of really intense work to create. Sometimes the best actions are the slow actions. Other times the best actions are really fast’...
Extract from the article All Together Now: Array Collective Turner Prize Winner, written by Jessica Hemmings.
Array Collective members are Sighle Bhreathnach-Cashell, Jane Butler, Emma Campell, Alessia Cargnelli, Mitch Conlon, Clodagh Lavelle, Grace McMurray, Stephen Millar, Laura O’Connor and Thomas Wells. Nominees are exhibited at the Herbert Art Gallery until12 January 2022. Find out more here: www.theherbert.org/
Read the rest of the article in the latest issue of Selvedge, Issue 104 Keeping Warm