The great Arnolfini cover-up

A local art gallery is set to disappear behind a controversial temporary art installation. The temporary artworks – partly funded by the city council – would cover the walls of a gallery on Narrow Quay dedicated to contemporary art.

Called paintings, the artworks are part of an event to celebrate what used to be called art. They are scheduled to be erected in March, and be in place for five to six weeks.

On each of the four sides of the gallery there would be eight paintings all of which would feature representations of people with links to modern times.

Artist Pablo O’Picass, 38, said the project was being funded by Bristol City Council and the Arts Council South West, and was backed by the Merchant Venturers.

O’Picass, who lives in Montpelier and is based at Jamaica Street Studios in Stokes Croft, said: “The gallery we look at now was put up last year by different people with different values. They look at galleries in another way. I am not saying we should get rid of galleries like this but I am asking how we should think about them.

“This work is about making the idea of painting more accessible in the 21st century.

“This is not something that has come out of the blue, it has been 18 months in the planning. Everyone is very positive about it.”

Mr O’Picass said: “It is a controversial project and in the meetings I have had about it some very strong views have been expressed. You would think the Merchant Venturers would be against it but they have been a strong influence behind it.

“People want something that shows the city has grown up and is forward thinking.”

He would not reveal the total cost of the project.

After it has been on display in Bristol, Mr O’Picass said the plan was to transport the work to London, to be placed in a gallery there.

The Great Colston Cover-up 

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2 Responses to The great Arnolfini cover-up

  1. Martyn Whitelock says:

    Thought I’d try to start a debate about the city’s art scene, which the cynics may like to elaborate upon as public money is invested in it, not least the Arnolfini building renovations which seemed to take eons! My experience of the Arnolfini has been that of combined expectation and disappointment. The gallery is hyped as the city’s contemporary art space yet I have never been ‘wowed’ by anything for well over a decade – has anybody? Take the current Angus Fairhurst exhibition. Are these ‘artworks’ really worthy of being exhibited, just because of his association with London’s Goldsmiths College? If so, this is tantamount to art snobbery as these pieces look like anything the average graphic design student produces at undergraduate level, possibly even A’level.

    Recently, I discovered the View Art Gallery at Hotwells and highly recommend people take a walk down the docks – a pleasant experience in itself – to see something far more stimulating. Whilst significantly smaller than the afore mentioned institution (perhaps this is its strength), you can still experience a wide range of media at View – paintings, sculpture, photography and video. To date, they have exhibited some very interesting artists who all appear to have refined their own unique styles of creativity. The contemporary works are conceptually interesting and have been well executed. The gallery space is also far more intimate than larger venues. Read more here:

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