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Conjunction 2010 at AirSpace gives modern art a buzz
Flies installation at Airspace
The life-size dead flies in the display window have been puzzling gallery passers-by

The curator of Conjunction 10, a contemporary art festival in Staffordshire, admits that he's trying to cause a buzz around the show.

The display window of the AirSpace gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, shows a dozen flies lying on the sill. They appear to have died there.

In fact, they are bronze casts. But passers-by have been wondering if they are real - and more so, are they Art?

Previous Conjunction festivals have also caused raised eyebrows.

Conjunction

Bronzed fly
The flies represent the festival theme of escape

The Conjunction Biennial is a modern art event that takes place in Stoke-on-Trent every two years. It is funded by Arts Council England, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire University.

There are exhibits at three galleries in Hanley - Airspace, Dazed and the Potteries Museum.

In 2008, during the first Conjunction, a crashed car was left in Stoke at Staffordshire University. It was broken into when voices could be heard coming from it. In fact the 'voices' were a recording on a loop in the boot.

In 2009, the Airspace Gallery shipped in an exhibit completely made of mud.

Flies

Co-director of the gallery, Andrew Branscombe, says the unusual artwork of the flies will attract people in.

Andrew said: "Because it's such a subtle piece, we wanted to put it quite a public place for people to wonder at - and then it becomes clear that it's a piece of art work."

The display previews the Failed Attempts installation by Victoria Lucas which features more bronzed flies. She was responding to the theme of the festival, which is that of 'escape'.

The Conjunction website describes the piece of work as follows:
The insects' story of failure to escape from the room holds a metaphorical resonance in relation to our own failures, hopes and desires.

Exhibits

Another work features hay bales.

Not surprisingly, it has ignited the debate of what constitutes art. BBC Radio Stoke reported on the phenomenon.

Victoria and the other commissioned artists were happy to discuss how they have responded to this year's theme of escape.

Other exhibitors

Among the 35 artists exhibiting are Paul Rooney, Fikret Atay, Tim Long, Adam James and Juneau Projects.

Yoke and Zoom's piece Micro Ale House
Yoke and Zoom's piece Micro Ale House features some hay bales. Is it art?

A series of events and talks run alongside the exhibition. Subjects such as the Glasgow art scene, a punk night and a seminar on how to become an art collector are just some of the highlights.

The exhibition runs from 16 October - 27 November 2010. Click here to visit their website or call 01782 261221 for more details.




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