Five Years consists of a membership of twelve contributors, each of whom may present two exhibition projects in the gallery every 18 months. Each contributor can choose to include their own work in one of these slots if they wish, but the other show must be purely invitational. Aside from these basic rules, each member acts autonomously of the others in deciding the nature and content of their contributions to Five Years’ exhibition programme. The creative freedom that this structure allows operates like an engine, generating a continuous, rapid succession of new projects and continuously branching out into unpredictable territory, beyond the control of any individual directorship.
Five Years is an unfunded collaborative artists’ project. Founded in 1998, Five Years’ initial aim was to set up a gallery which was artist-run and where programming would maintain a direct relationship to practice. Five Years continues to develop this aim of maintaining close links between the production and exhibition of work, and the discourse which informs it.Rather than acting as a ‘curatorial’ entity, the group’s members continue to develop exhibition projects based around concerns emerging from their own practices; offering these projects as frameworks within which other artists can, through participation, respond to or engage in dialogue around the concerns being discussed by the group. Through these processes, Five Years aims to create a context which fosters productive dialogue between artists and the exposure of ambitious new work.
My involvement with Five Years goes back to its starting point and site, in 40 Underwood st since 1998 but was only formalised after the move to the new space since 2006.
The structural set up of the project , leaves literally any of its members a space and a time to self manage and exercise curatorial experimental proposals ( including the possibility of displaying its own work)apart of also open the "network/web" to other artist as guest curators and to echo the main structural set up. The idea of a cooperative setting, based on a Free Association spirit where each member independently can self curate and self manage, seemed very challenging in the late nineties and very inspiring too. It was like an empty blank philosophical space where to try, make, re-formulate, change roles and ultimately fail too... as the results where not so important compared to any thing related to the journey/ experiences of such experiments and situations .
For the last years since 2010, I am conducting a series of explorations and comparative studies around the artist lead space/ curatorial new practices and spaces. I am hoping to publish those and to be part of the bigger conversation about what it means for an artist to consistently work on exhibition as medium, editing and publishing and self instituting via having a space, an address or site from where to experiment, wile also using the website format or the nomadic interchange of spaces or the site intervention as methods.