Walking up to the pop-up gallery on its opening night was a difficult endeavour. Black-clad twenty-somethings clutching cigarettes and bottles of beer thronged around the entrance; I’d have thought I’d have to catch an off-peak train to London and travel to an almost-entirely-gentrified district to surreptitiously indulge in similar vibes. It wasn’t affected or intimidating, however – the bustling atmosphere was welcoming.
it’s quality and not quantity that should matter, and there was certainly a lot of quality crammed into the gallery.
It was difficult to manoeuvre around the room at times; perhaps the multitude of people skewed my perception, but the amount of art on show wasn’t particularly impressive. The space isn’t large and the minimalist vibe works, but more art definitely wouldn’t go amiss. Of course, it’s quality and not quantity that should matter, and there was certainly a lot of quality crammed into the gallery.
Andrew Felton’s Volcanism was a personal favourite, impressive and refreshingly humorous; the faux-primitivism of his collage expressed his ‘playful and distorted view of how volcanoes work’, and his pixelated video was pretty wonderful as well. Aliona Shi’s work was another stand-out – of course, it would be difficult for photographs of Coca-Cola bottles adorned with Arabic labelling and fish-heads not to stand out. A quick web-search of her other collections reveals an impressive body of work. The description accompanying Felton and Shi’s (respective) artworks was thought-provoking, as were many of the other artists’ musings on the relationship between artist and critic, gallery space and the ethical dilemma of making art to make money. A few, however, did seem entirely misplaced next to the artwork on display.
The gallery space was funded by the University of Brighton and the general public, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Some of the money raised goes towards free workshops to the public, which I believe to be the most exciting aspect of the whole exhibition; it’s great that a group of young artists have worked to exhibit work in a non-academic setting, but better that they’re planning to give back, too. I’m definitely hoping to go back for the promised ‘crash-course in taxidermy’. An empty space in a prime location is being used for creative, entrepreneurial and community-building purposes and not for another Burger King: that, above all, is something to celebrate, and Kollectiv have made it happen.