Major artists feature in St Andrews public art exhibition responding to HIV and AIDS

Monday 10 June 2024

A new exhibition featuring art and literature by people affected by HIV and AIDS will appear across St Andrews this month, curated by a student from the University of St Andrews.

inter/pose is a cultural response to HIV and AIDS, and includes interactive art as well as written and spoken words by people who are living with HIV, who died of AIDS, or who lost loved ones to AIDS. It also includes a new series of photographs of a HIV+ person living in Scotland, taken by the Dundee-based photographer John Post.

Running from June 10 – 23, the exhibition places art in a range of public venues throughout St Andrews. This is designed to make art more accessible, encouraging people who might not normally enter a gallery to engage with art.

The exhibition includes some major international artists and writers—Felix Gonzalez-Torres, CAConrad, Hervé Guibert, Derek Jarman—alongside photographers Mateo Sierra and John Post and performance artist Kelvin Atmadibrata.

inter/pose is funded in part by a grant from the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Project Fund, and by the School of English. Components are also funded through University Impact funding connected to Dr Martha Baldon’s Leaving an Impression project, which saw several new works created for the exhibition.

Curator of inter/pose Lou Selfridge, from the School of English, said: “This exhibition is designed to make art accessible to as many people as possible and we hope that, over the next few weeks, people will stumble across the various pieces on display, spending some time—be it a few seconds or an hour—looking at and thinking about art by CAConrad, Mateo Sierra, Essex Hemphill and many others.

“Taken together, the works in inter/pose show a wide range of art made within the context of HIV and AIDS—with some works charting the process of dying from AIDS, whilst others think about what it means to live with HIV today when, thanks to years of activism and advancements in medicine, it is possible to live a full, healthy life whilst HIV+. There are also works included by those who lost loved ones to AIDS, reflecting on communities decimated in the peak of the AIDS crisis. With contributions from artists and writers from Britain, Ireland, America, Colombia, France, and Indonesia, inter/pose brings together a selection of artistic responses to HIV and AIDS, including some of the most significant artworks made in Britain and America during the AIDS crisis.

“It’s an honour to bring work by artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Kelvin Atmadibrata to St Andrews for the first time. For a small town on the Fife coast, we feel very fortunate that so many international artists, collectors, and estates have thrown their support behind this exhibition.”

A work by one of the most significant artists of the late 20th century, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, will be displayed in the Laidlaw Music Centre. Untitled” (Veterans Day Sale) is a stack of paper from which visitors are invited to take a sheet if they choose; it allows for participation with the artwork, as the paper stack slowly diminishes and, depending on the choices made by the institution borrowing the artwork, may or may not be replenished. Gonzalez-Torres died of an AIDS-related illness in 1996.

Hervé Guibert’s novel To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life will be read aloud over the course of a day in St Salvator’s Chapel, with members of the public invited to join in with the reading.

Poet CAConrad has written a new piece of work for the exhibition, and John Post’s photographs of a HIV+ person living in Scotland will be on display.

There will be a one-off screening of Derek Jarman’s film Blue, whilst quotations from Essex Hemphill’s poetry will be displayed on pavements throughout St Andrews.

There will be new work on display created in workshops hosted by HIV+ people living in Scotland, led by Dr Martha Baldon as part of her Leaving an Impression project.

Kelvin Atmadibrata will perform on the 22 June, whilst photographs by Mateo Sierra will be placed throughout the town on notice boards and in shop windows.

Principal Professor Dame Sally Mapstone said: “This exhibition shines a light on an important topic, featuring thought-provoking and emotional work by highly regarded artists, as well as providing a platform for emerging creatives.

inter/pose opens in a week where St Andrews welcomes people from all over the world to celebrate summer graduation with their families, and I am delighted to see funding from the University’s EDI Project Fund used for such an inspiring purpose, encouraging people to engage with art in a variety of innovative ways.”

View the full programme of events.

Images from a previous performance of But nothing happened! by Kelvin Atmadibrata (Copyright Ali Hussein Mohamed).

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office

Category Diverse

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