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Installation view
LUCILLE SWITH
18/04/19 - 28/04/19
Kicking off our new programme for 2019 here at OUTPUT, we have Lucille Swith’s first solo exhibition in Liverpool. The show brings together work they developed during a Graduate Residency at The Art House in Wakefield, where Smith spent the beginning of this year after completing a BA in Fine Art at Liverpool John Moores University in 2018.

Swith’s work often relies on found objects, reworking free or cheap items and materials through collage, illustration and installation to offer the audience a casual and fun experience with their art. Unlike the strictness, professionalism and intense craftsmanship of the art world we are shown through major institutions, Smith’s practice operates on a different level because it has different priorities altogether. Politics, identity and authenticity matter more to the artist than typical success and the market. Art remains expression and a way to connect with others, rather than a conduit for business and insincere networking.

At the opening event for this exhibition, Swith will be joined by Liverpool-based Qfolk who brings with them a post folk punk yelling experience. Set starts at 7.30pm.
Installation view
What was it like on your first residency?

It was good in that there was a lot of creative support but I was bored a lot. Because my art is made out of everyday materials/experiences, it didn’t make sense to be somewhere where my sole purpose was to make art. It was also strange being given a budget for materials because my art is made through gathering, which is a slow process that can’t necessarily be adapted quickly in a new setting. Besides that, out of town residencies are romanticized a lot, especially at uni, perhaps a result of privilege; being able to take time off work, to afford to go (even if it is paid, often it just evens out the cost), and having the emotional capacity to do it because it is very isolating. I don’t really fit into ‘professional’ art environments, and I found myself censoring myself and my identity which made it extra difficult to talk about work during critiques, because the work I make references the fact I’m poor and queer. Since then I’ve decided that I’m not taking part in stuff unless it’s local. Liverpool has provided a home for me, so it feels only fitting that this is where my work remains.

How has your art changed since leaving uni?

My art has become more honest since leaving. I care less about trying to live up to professional standards which is liberating. The ‘art’ institutions (quotation marks because I don’t believe that most of what they show is even art) are all dire in terms of lack of support and exposure for local artists and the working class which has resulted in me not caring about success. At uni there was a lot of optimism and ambition, career wise but since leaving, all of that is lost on me. However, it means that I don’t care about success anymore. Because the materials I use tend to be disposable, I don’t have to rely on money to make art. So, to sum up, I can make my art with anything that I have at hand and I have nothing to lose. I think that’s a pretty powerful position to be in. I hope that scares some people. That’s also why I wanted Quinn to play at the opening, because Qfolk is loud, empathetic and brutally honest, but it’s also so minimal in that it’s just one person armed with nothing except life experience and a guitar. I think that minimalism forces the audience to confront things that are not always comfortable, and I relate to that.

What do you want your art to do?

I think I want it to evoke playfulness in the viewer. Art should be fun and playful because anyone can relate to that, and you don’t need expensive materials to achieve that. The act of doing is enough and can lead to self-discovery, and that’s way more valuable as opposed to being technically ‘good’ at something.
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Installation view
Installation view