After the brilliant opening of the latest edition of FT2 (Focus, Team Work, Fresh Time, Training) exhibition the past 14th December in Actiu’s London Showroom, we talk to our curatorial team, and ask about the thought process behind the selection of works, and how these fit with the various states and activities in the new work environment and philosophy.
(Images by Albert Palen)
FT2 is the new artistic collaboration between Actiu and Chrom-Art aimed to show that art can positively influence our daily mood and state of mind, and also an opportunity to showcase unique works from great undiscovered emerging artists.
According to a Harvard study, the aim in life of 93% of people is to be happy. Within the professional field, the context in which happiness is stimulated is the work space. Hence Actiu coined the term #CoolWorking that described their objective of creating spaces where we feel good, where we are more productive, creative and sustainable, and ingrained this slogan in the company’s philosophy.
How do you see Art in the context of ‘Cool-Working’?
We are seeing a clear shift in tendency from our corporate clients, most seeking to integrate art as part of the daily office flow. From years of no art in the work environment, or just a few signature pieces locked in boardrooms and client meeting rooms, now time has come to bring art to the forefront, as a booster of creativity and therefore productivity, as enabler and connector.
Companies now aim to create interactive, inspiring environments for their employees and their clients where art is a language to convey the philosophy of the firm and diversity of work force, through bespoke, evolving collections, where pieces are periodically moved from location, or changed. This matches the desire of every artist to create to connect with people, and the best way to achieve this is by art coexisting with people, not relegated to museums or exclusive areas.
About Concentration and FOCUS
Closed and quiet spaces are more appropriate for developing tasks that demand greater privacy, both as a group and individually. For these we have selected three compelling mainly abstract works, used to attract not distract the attention of the group or individual in the space. The absence of strident colour or excesive drama in form means that whoever enter these rooms is not able to mentally tag art works to recognizable ideas or experiences, opening the door to a state of mind of assimilation of the new.
‘Dawn’ by Andy Finlay is a large white on white Syrian landscape in oil paint with concrete dust on raw unstretched canvas. As with every work by Finlay, these are full of minuscule clues waiting to be discovered. The painting interacts with light, were light and its changes throughout the day become an inherent part of the piece, unfolding new facets and details of it.
Artist and designer Jason Molloy presents ‘Burnt out’, an ingenious organic sculptural wall piece made of burnt papers, card and wood, specifically commissioned for this exhibition from his sell out series. The beautiful nature-inspired spiralling form could also be used for contemplation and meditation.
‘Moon Dust’ by Ting-An Lin is an exquisite abstract composition from an artist with a passion for conceptual art. It is harmonic, well balanced, and extraordinarily poetic.
About Collaboration and TEAM WORK
When we thought about these spaces we had in mind the bouncing of ideas, the sharing, and to a very large extent, the compromising required to achieve common goals. Every collaborative process starts with a bit of initial understanding and minimum ‘get to know’ each other to be able to work together. We thought of pieces that will trigger initial conversations and bring about what most people have in common. Instead of abstraction, we chose this time figurative pieces that would also help challenge our perception of what seems real or obvious to us, such is the nature of negotiations sometimes.
That’s why we thought that the new ‘Twisted Lines’ series of world’s landmarks by digital artist Jacinto Caetano was very relevant, as travelling and geographical identity are some of the biggest ice-breaker topics when it comes to meeting new people.
‘Crossroads’ oil in linen by Lindsay Pickett is a compelling realistic yet surreal work that creates distorted perspectives of familiar metropolitan places. An arm-wrestling game between the artist and viewers that might be forced to admit that their initial perceptions were indeed, wrong.
About FRESH TIME, socialisation
For these areas we thought of the idea of familiarity, and things that we are all fond of such as good times, friendship and nature.
‘Urban Angel’ by Caroline Hands is a semi-abstract, vibrant painting from an artist that devoted all her life to art making and teaching, living many years in remote places of mainland China. Her work is favoured by dancers as her ‘happy paintings’ are full of rhythm and movement, like a dance. Vulnerability and honesty are also components of these whirlwind juxtapositions of multicultural references.
‘Micky has died’ collage on wood is another brilliant piece by young painter and street artist DALOPO which is about his life journey between adolescence and adulthood; a period to adapt to a new set of expectations and responsibilities but also full of excitement. His work is very Picassian, and it is charged with images and scenes for the viewer to re-imagine.
We selected also a beautiful and serene large painting by Eleanor Buffam that brings us closer to nature and childhood. Buffam is interested in exploring ideas of community, interdependence, and interconnectivity, especially regarding humanity’s place with one another and with our environment
About TRAINING, learning
Our ability to learn can be influenced by external factors that are conducive to a mindset where we are ready to absorb new concepts, ask questions, and practice until we acquire new knowledge and skills. We then had the idea of strong, caffeine-like paintings that were energetic yet not ‘over the top’; mood changing works that would get us ready to engage and be intuitive and receptive.
Again we needed to strike a balance; not be as tempered and calm as in the Focus area, nor as conversational as in the Team Work area, nor as relaxed as in the Fresh Time area. We think we have achieved this with substantial abstract works and the absence of primary colours.
‘Breech’, Marcus Richards’ elegant geometrical composition is a treat to the senses. It is precise and poignant.
Shiroma Ratne’s work ‘Pulse’ has evolved through a gradual creative process that is expressed in abstract form, with a strong sense for colour. She intuitively captures the sense, mood and energy to create her art with a passion for colour, achieving highly original pieces.
We also present ‘Mimic’, a fine example of the sensual expressionist work of young Australian artist Nara Walker.
We are very pleased with the final outcome. The collaboration with Actiu has been very well received by the artists in our incubator, who have submitted a large number of high quality, very interesting pieces. This made our lives difficult in the selection process but we hope we will be able to showcase more emerging talent in future editions of this ground-breaking project that brings art to our daily lives, and transitions it from plain decorative use to a transformational tool for mood and state of mind.