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Artist revisits the city’s past in celebration of 40 years of Artlink Hull



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2022 marks the 40th anniversary of Artlink Hull. In celebration of this milestone 87 Gallery has commissioned artist Ailish Treanor to respond to the organisation’s extensive archive. 

Treanor has explored the archive physically and digitally, seeking out evidence of live events, workshops and performances. Traces of these ephemeral happenings have been captured in photographs, posters and publications. Treanor has pulled motifs from this material to produce a new body of work that references the value of everyday human experiences and decision-making.

Sportswear logos, drawn from the fashion of the day, are translated into  ceramic sculpture. Butterfly collages, the result of community workshops, have grown into  textiles sculptures that pose theatrically in the space. 

Tableau Retro also seeks to acknowledge Artlink Hull as a workplace, recognising the presence of members of staff within the archive. In a photograph from the 1990s an unidentified woman speaks on the phone, two of her colleagues engage in a conversation. 

Treanor found that these images often appear staged, creating a tension between history and fiction. The work reminds us that the  making of an archive is a conscious act, one  that can be altered to fit different times and agendas. 

Curator Becky Gee, who has worked closely with the artist throughout the development of the work says, “Artlink has such a rich and diverse history. It’s been a pleasure to explore this creatively with Ailish and to see which archival material she has been most drawn to over recent months.

“The work that she has produced references our organisation whilst maintaining the artist’s signature aesthetic. I hope that visitors will enjoy the exhibition, using it as a lens through which to view our 40-year history.” 

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