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ARMA 2015: Anne Harild at Bluecoat, Liverpool

The Venue: Bluecoat, Liverpool
The Artist: Anne Harild
The Commission: 'We Approach'
View images of the residency & commission launch

The Venue
Following an open call for applications Bluecoat, Liverpool was selected from more than fifty organisations and venues who applied to host the prestigious residency in 2015. 

Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts. With four galleries, its artists’ studios support the work of 20 artists, whilst its other spaces provide a home to creative industries and practitioners. It is believed to be the UK’s oldest arts centre, with a unique heritage; early exhibitions included the first Post Impressionists show which came to Liverpool in 1911, while recent years have seen it attract internationally renowned artists such as Yoko Ono, William Kentridge and John Akomfrah. Through its engagement projects, the Bluecoat connects with a diverse range of people of all ages, from various backgrounds. An ongoing participation programme giving adults with learning disabilities the opportunity to develop creative and social skills, whilst increasing independence of thought and action is at the heart of these engagement projects.

Bec Fearon, Head of Engagement at Bluecoat said: “I am delighted that Bluecoat has been selected to host this prestigious award. We are looking forward to welcoming the successful artist and working with them during their exciting residency as we engage with local children and their families.”

Veronica Reinhardt, Trustee of the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust, said, “ARMA were impressed with Bluecoat’s educational provision for hard-to-reach groups in Liverpool. We were also excited by their proposal to use their ongoing work with people with learning needs to extend the life of the project beyond the ten weeks of the Award. One of the aims of ARMA is to generate ideas and working practices that can continue to resonate beyond the life of the Award and we really felt that the Bluecoat offered a great opportunity to do this.”

Jane Sillis, Director of Engage, said, “We are delighted that Bluecoat will host the 2015 ARMA residency and commission. Engage is keenly aware of the benefits that children and young people gain from engaging with artists, and that those in deprived areas have less opportunity to engage with art. The residency at Bluecoat will provide a unique experience for participants and we look forward to sharing what is learnt through the residency and commission with colleagues in the gallery education sector.”

The Artist
Danish artist Anne Harild was chosen to undertake the 2015 Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award (ARMA) Artist Residency at Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts.

Anne started her ten-week residency in February 2015, building on the organisation’s ongoing commitment to make the very best of art accessible to all, by working with families from some of Liverpool’s disadvantaged communities. Working closely with Bec Fearon, Head of Engagement and Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at Bluecoat, Anne's residency will result in a semi-permanent commissioned artwork to be situated at the front of the building, to be completed by the autumn of 2015.

Anne Harild was born in Denmark and studied at University of the Arts and the Royal College of Art, London. Her work is rooted in an exploration of the organised urban environment, the grids and textures that make up contemporary cities and structure and shape our lives within them. She explains “I investigate the visual language of place; the material and shape we choose to surround ourselves with, translating the materiality of spaces into a series of collages, sculptural works and animated films. Collecting architectural surfaces, textures and shapes with camera and pencil, I deconstruct them and re-connect them, trying to make sense of the skins of buildings and what meaning they might carry.” This process opens a new perspective on living and dwelling in which recuperation, self-building, and a fresh look on the existing built environment are pivotal elements.

Anne has exhibited her work as part of ‘Atelier a Habiter’ at Z33 House of Contemporary Art in Hasselt, Belgium, ‘Shadow Lines’ at Tin Type Contemporary Art, London and most recently Paradigm Store at 5 Howick Place, London. This year Anne’s projects included Translating Spaces, where she worked with young people from Drapers City Foyer, Bethnal Green to create an exhibition, as well as a series of workshops in London schools in collaboration with Art on the Underground. These led to the production of a series of artworks that were then displayed as posters on the tube network. Anne has also been an artist in Artist in Residence at St. Mary’s Hospital in the Paediatric Unit, and produced an animation in response to this experience, which is part of Paintings in Hospitals’ collection.

In response to the Award Anne Harild said: “I am very much looking forward to beginning my residency at Bluecoat and taking on this commission. It’s a great opportunity, being able to explore the environment of such a beautiful and historically rich place as the Bluecoat in collaboration with young people and adults. I hope to make work based on our findings that will help people to engage in a process of exploring their immediate environment and the environment of Bluecoat.”

Bec Fearon, Head of Engagement at Bluecoat said:“We are delighted to be hosting the award in 2015 and excited about working with Anne Harild. I am sure that, in collaboration with children and families, Anne will create something truly exceptional for our front courtyard space. We are particularly inspired by her idea to use details within the building's architecture as the starting point for workshops. It's such a landmark building and this will encourage people to look at it more closely.”

Jane Sillis, Director of Engage, and a member of the selection panel for the Award said: “Engage is delighted that Anne Harild is undertaking the 2015 ARMA residency and commission with Bluecoat. Anne a brings wealth of experience of working with a diversity of participants on high quality visual arts projects in a broad range of media.”

Click here to see a selection of images taken during Anne's residency at the Bluecoat.
Anne Harild: ARMA Residency blog
Blue Room blog
Out of the Blue blog  

The Commission
Bluecoat’s current exhibition RESOURCE features Anne Harild’s new sculpture commission, entitled ‘We Approach’ completed with the help of children from North Liverpool and adults with learning disabilities. Anne spent ten weeks in residence at Bluecoat, leading a series of workshops with participants of two of Bluecoat’s regular engagement projects: Blue Room - a weekly programme for artists with learning disabilities, and Out of the Blue - weekly art clubs for children in Anfield, Everton, Granby, Norris Green and Walton. During school holidays the young members of the Out of the Blue clubs come to Bluecoat for activities, often working alongside Blue Room. Together they explored the architecture of the Bluecoat building, new and old, and created their own models and drawings. The ideas generated have directly inspired Anne Harild’s artwork, which will be installed in Bluecoat’s front courtyard until late autumn.

Anne Harild said:
“I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone at Bluecoat, it’s been a real pleasure. During a series of process-led workshops, we uncovered and explored the fabric and history of Bluecoat and created work in response to our findings. My work is a direct response to the work generated in the workshops and the shapes, textures and visual language of the work are informed by the architecture of the Bluecoat building. The original idea for the workshops, of handing over building blocks to the participants and representing a series of voices or views, is expressed through the 8 different arches that focus on translations of the architectural environment. The work is a passage or series of structures that arch over the main path in the front courtyard at Bluecoat, monumental in scale but welcoming, an invitation into the gallery. The work can be seen as a resource for the building, opening up new perspectives and uncovering previously unnoticed aspects, drawing people into the surroundings to both move through and around the courtyard and to experience and interpret the language of that space.”

Mary Cloake, Chief Executive, Bluecoat said:"I'm delighted that we have been able to support the realisation of such an ambitious public sculpture. The work, ‘We Approach’, brings together key strands of Bluecoat's mission, combining artistic excellence with wide-reaching engagement. We are very pleased both with the outcome and with the way it has involved Out of the Blue, our after-school clubs for children and Blue Room, our artists with learning disabilities.  The result is an exceptional piece of sculpture, which will take pride of place in our historic front courtyard where it will be seen and enjoyed by thousands of passers-by, as well as by Bluecoat’s regular visitors. We have learned much from the ARMA residency. The high quality of Anne Harild’s artistic process in creating this sculpture will help us enhance our future programmes for artists and our continuing support for communities in Liverpool.”   

Veronica Reinhardt, Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust and a member of the selection panel for the Award said:One of the challenges of the ARMA award is to fully integrate the experience of working with young people in the community while not compromising the artistic vision of the final commissioned piece of art for the museum or gallery. Anne Harild has fully embraced this idea and her work resonates with drawings and sculptures from her workshops with both children and adults with learning disabilities, while at the same time expressing her own creativity and exploration of the Bluecoat building as it reaches its 300th anniversary. The Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust is delighted that Anne has so successfully delivered an ambitious project, which we hope will have lasting impact at Bluecoat.”

Jane Sillis, Director of Engage said: “Anne Harild hosted by Bluecoat has produced an exciting artwork which will be enjoyed by the thousands of people who visit and pass by the arts centre’s courtyard this summer. Anne has worked sensitively with artists with learning disabilities from Out of the Blue and young artists from the Blue Room creating ‘We Approach’ a work which matches the ambition and imagination of participants’ ideas. Bluecoat have demonstrated the impact that an artist’s residency and commission, which truly embraces participation, can have for all those involved, including the venue and artist. engage is grateful to the continued support of the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust for ARMA, to Bluecoat, Anne Harild and to ARMA 2015 participants.”


















Images courtesy of Bluecoat and Beth Moseley, taken during Anne's workshops and the commission launch in the Bluecoat courtyard. 

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