Café Ollo
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The Media Centre 7 Northumberland St Huddersfield HD1 1RL
Cafe Ollo

Compromised Collaborations


Café Ollo, The Media Centre

7 Northumberland St




Opening: Thursday 12 May 2016, 5-7pm.

Exhibition continues until 7 September 2016.


Participating artists: Michael Borkowsky and Jim Geddes, Robert Good and Fay Stevens, Laura Gower, Vilyana Milanova, Netta Sadovsky, Gordon Culshaw and John O’Hare, Alice Bradshaw.


Compromised Collaborations is a project created by Gordon Culshaw and John O’Hare that invited proposals “examining the theme of collaboration and the difficulty it poses to the artistic integrity of those involved. Proposals should take the form of part finished pieces, perhaps work the artist has been unable to fully resolve. Or it might be specifically created to pose particular problems and/or to challenge or question us, your co-collaborators.” The project seeks to test how we define collaboration and authorship through selected works.


One of the proposals was from Café Ollo curator Alice Bradshaw to exhibit the project within the limitations of the Café Ollo exhibition programme, having previously researched O’Hare’s work for her Masters at Huddersfield University and reviewed O’Hare & Culshaw’s previous collaboration The Roadside Museum at BasementArtsProject in Leeds. As an artist who also incorporates curatorial and collaborative work into her practice, Bradshaw is interested in this perceived/actualised dichotomy of artist and curator and how this may manifest in practice through collaboration.


This press release and exhibition information has been written by Bradshaw with minimal information supplied by O’Hare and Culshaw about the artists’ proposals they have selected, with the aid of research via Google – a ubiquitously accessible but questionably accurate tool. The ongoing email dialogue between Bradshaw, O’Hare & Culshaw has shaped both this text and the resultant exhibition.



Michael Borkowsky creates Speculative Studio Spaces – defined by the artist as “a fabricated artist’s working environment which takes an artist’s exhibition piece, questions how the artist arrived at the idea, then assembles a space that assumes the role of their studio”. For Compromised Collaborations, O’Hare and Culshaw chose a work by the late Jim Geddes that they had bought at auction in 2015 to re-imagine Geddes’ legacy to challenge Borkowskywith a new element of posthumous collaboration. Whereas the role of a museum curator working with a deceased artists’ representation may be to stay as true to the documented historical facts as possible, Borkowsky’s project derives an alternate presentation. In a deconstructive method where objects and ideas are taken back to their original forms, Borkowsky’s creative process deconstructs Geddes’ own creative processes beginning with a finished work.



Jim Geddes (1932-2009) was Canadian artist who spent 40 years living in London prolifically making ceramic sculptures and paintings. Geddes had attended art school in New York with Andy Warhol before moving to London and had seemed to have chosen a reclusive life in his basement studio. After his death in 2009, over 300 works were discovered in his flat on Caledonian Road that were later auctioned. One of these works was purchased by Culshaw and O’Hare and is included in this project.



The Unearthing of Jacquetta Hawkes is a collaboration between artists Robert Good and Fay Stevens and the Compromised Collaborations duo. The aim of the is to unearth meanings lying beneath the surface of Hawkes’ seminal 1951 book, A Land, the projects seeks to examine the notion of importance in the dissemination of information and how art, science and archaeology function as context for ‘important’ facts about the past, present and future, whilst revealing certain identities of the author/s and artist/s. The book begins: “I have used the findings of the two sciences of geology and archaeology for purposes altogether unscientific.” The outcome is presented as as an installation of ‘archaeological’ finds from the excavation and documentation of the artistic process, borrowing an archaeological framework for defining importance and value.



Laura Gower invited Culshaw and O’Hare to “make sense of a vast and growing collection of material which I call “signs”. I have been collecting my signs for perhaps four years now and frankly the collection grows quicker than I can make sense of it, and the more it grows, the harder it gets. Perhaps two people will have a better chance than once to get a handle on this?”


Gower describes her artistic practice as: “An exploration of many forms of human exchange and interaction and the observation, documentation and re-contextualisation of these: watching, listening and taking things for my own. I frequently tread the line between public and private and what is or isn’t socially acceptable, and why this should be so. I am particularly interested in people’s reactions to art and intervention and the social role and perception of “the artist”.”



Vilyana Milanova: “I saw a little empty bottle with a cork plug. I wanted to give it as a present to my boy. I gave it to him empty – and I said to him that in the bottle is my kiss. He studies abroad and I miss him when he’s not at home so I gave him a kiss to remember. It is a fact, I thought back then, when you kiss me goodbye and then leave – there is a huge emptiness I feel but still I could feel your kiss, your smile and your spirit.” This project is about how equal we and our feelings are.



In Spring 2014, New York based artists Netta Sadovsky and Alex Zandi embarked upon a project entitled Infinite Pools. What started in earnest, with epic intentions, would become poisoned by miscommunication and seismic differences in opinion. Six months after the disintegration of their artistic partnership, Netta contacted ‘Compromised Collaborations’ with several hours of unedited footage, seeking assistance in bringing the project to a conclusion and looking for some kind of closure on what had become an episode of misadventure.


Later disclosed to Compromised Collaborations, Zandi has previously released a 13 minute film entitled Infinite Pools that he claimed 2014 solo copyright. Zandi’s film features Sadovsky on camera in some shots which leads us to believe that he is behind the camera for some of the footage at least, but he also appears to use footage that features on Netta’s vimeo channel in unedited form.


This new rendition of the film footage produced by the Compromised Collaboration duo offers an alternative conclusion to the already compromised collaboration of Sadovsky and Zandi.


John Culshaw & Gordon O’Hare [email protected]

Alice Bradshaw [email protected]