Eastside Projects
East Midlands

Eastside Projects is an artist run-space that is free to the public in Birmingham. The space opened in 2008 on Heath Mill Lane and is directed by Gavin Wade. It commissions and presents experimental contemporary art exhibitions. The environment is one I am familiar with as I have visited the space before for the ‘Abstract Possible – Birmingham Beat’ exhibition. (6th Oct-1st Dec 2012)

On 6th February I decided to take a trip to Eastside Projects in to see the Mike Nelson exhibition, ‘M6.’ (12 Jan-9th March 2013) On the evening a talk was also given by Gavin Wade and Paul O’Neil based on contemporary curating. I was excited at the prospect of seeing some art and also being presented with information by Gavin Wade whom I am familiar with from listening to a previous lecture given by him and having a one-to-one tutorial. Paul O’Neil is new to me and only having done a small amount of research beforehand I was intrigued to find out more about his artist and curating work. I found the presentations very informal and I learnt a lot of new things on curating. To be able to get the opportunity to hear both the artists journeys felt quite admiring and it makes you believe that anyone can end up in the position(s) that they both lead right now.

It was great to revisit ‘Pleasure Island’ by Heather and Ivan Morison which has been kept as a permanent work within the space. The original artwork commissioned for the Wales Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 has been adapted to function as an office space located at the back of the gallery which is a great area for artists/general public to gather around have a cup of tea and a piece of cake. After my first visit I was curious to see the appearance and form which the structure took when it was exhibited at the Venice Biennale, so I found returning for a second time made me value the work more from recognising the time and effort that went into the work.

As you enter the space you are immediately involved with viewing Mike Nelson’s sculptural installation ‘M6.’ His work is based on the M6 motorway leading through Birmingham and he presents the residue of worn and torn vehicle tires in a very specific way on a raised concrete platform. He has not changed or adapted the objects in any way which makes you think about how each tire has resulted in the condition we are shown which is seen from the mud/dirt which still sits on the surface of the rubber. Some tires still remain in their complete circular shape whilst others are smaller fragments of coiled up material. This led me to wander about the history that each tire has had, although they all have the same function the lives they have led will all vary. I felt the work would have worked well without the concrete platform which was used to display each section as I wanted take a closer inspection at parts however I know if this was the case it may have lost the typical gallery type set-up. I was most interested in the dissimilarity of the patterned textures which each tire entailed and the way the design had been wrecked in some way from their journeys. I have never paid much attention to a tire before and to think that it wasn’t till this exhibition that I would believe that parts of this material can be regarded as beautiful. I think overall he illustrates the point very well that we discard a lot of materials that most would describe as ‘waste’ and that it is apparent that many don’t consider their actions.