Thursday, 12 February 2009

Squatdoyouthink, 4 : Myriam

What motivates an artist to show their work in a squat gallery rather than a gallery gallery? I caught up with Myriam, one of the exhibiting artists at Section6's recent show, for her thoughts.

How did you come to be involved with Section6?

I was looking for opportunities to exhibit my paintings and came across the artist/theatre section on Gumtree where I saw Section6's call for work, in particular asking artists if they would like to exhibit in a disused space. I sent them a couple of photos of my paintings and everything went from there.

Why exhibit in a squat than, say, a gallery?

Exhibiting in a squatted space gives you freedom to do what you want with it. There are no restrictions or anyone who tells you what is possible and what is not. You are independent from "art trends", the selection processes from galleries and curators and what the mainstream public wants. Of course there are a wide variety of galleries here in London, but unless you are lucky enough to have an exhibition opportunity or pay a decent amount of money, it isn't easy to get your art out there.

Another factor is that we can attract people who may not be inclined towards art because of those restrictions I mentioned. There are no stiff boundaries when you see art in a squat as opposed to commercial gallery spaces.

Are you also squatting yourself?

I used to live in squats in Germany many years ago, but I am renting now in London. The thought of squatting again has crossed my mind, thanks to the unbelievably high rents in this city. Studio or workshop places are also way too expensive and the waiting lists for affordable spaces are endless.

What is your definition of squatting?

Squatting means the reclaiming of unused spaces and remaking their use in a positive way. I think using them as temporary art spaces, for example, is a great way of doing this.

Where else have you shown?

Section6 was my second exhibition. Before that, I was involved in a group exhibition in a London gallery.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am originally from Germany and was living in New Zealand for three years, before moving to London in 2007 to study fine art. Painting is my favourite medium and I consider myself as an intuitive painter. Most of my works are painted in abstract terms and I see them as representations of people's fears, nightmares and their "hidden darker side". I am currently living in east London.

For more information about Myriam's work, please check out her Myspace page.