North West Visual Arts Archive
@ Context Galleries 2
11th November – 09th December 2006
The North West Visual Arts Archive presents Live Archive 0 – 1 the first of its Live Archive exhibition/project programme. Live Archive 0 – 1 is a linear history of Derry’s now defunct Orchard Gallery in installation form using gallery ephemera such as catalogues, invitation cards, gallery handouts and reviews.
The Orchard Gallery ran from 1978 to 2003 and established itself as an exciting and innovative institution at the forefront of contemporary art showing many of the leading names of Irish, European and world art. It put Derry on the world map as far as contemporary art was concerned. The installation is also an interactive research project which will offer the public the opportunity to contribute their memories, anecdotes and opinions of the gallery to the project thus creating a written narrative to accompany the exhibition. It is important that a regional arts archive protects and explores the local arts heritage of the area, as the nature of visual art is often very ephemeral and easily lost. But with the Live Archive projects this heritage will be updated and added to in an imaginative and thought-provoking manner. It is also very apparent that the meaning of the term ‘archive’ is no longer fixed. Many artists have appropriated archival terminology and strategies and used them in their own work thus there is now a fluidity of definition as to what archiving actually means. The North West Visual Arts Archive recognises this and will explore new methods of articulating the remit of the archive.
The North West Visual Arts Archive aims to accumulate, collate and make publicly available a coherently structured and easily accessible visual arts archive covering the local North West region, encompassing the counties of Derry, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. The archive is continually added to and updated as new documents become available.
The archive is not intended to be merely a passive resource. Rather it is envisaged as a living entity with exhibitions, publications, lectures and workshops evolving from it. The Live Archive project is designed to visually articulate the remit of the archive and as a means of supporting local artistic practice and indeed the contemporary art scene in the North West. Archives have the capacity to cross artistic disciplines and boundaries and use multiple formats to initiate creative dialogue and projects with regard to past, present and future art production in the region.
At the end of Live Art: 0 – 1 The North West Visual Arts Archive will move to its permanent home in the Verbal Arts Centre, Derry though will continue to initiate off-site Live Archive projects, the first planned for spring/summer 2007 being a project looking at Derry art and artists working today.
Thanks to Colin Darke for permission to use his research notes on the early years of the gallery.
Live Archive 0 – 1:
Gregory McCartney: Project Coordinator
Cinza Parola: Research Assistant
Mara Cavalli: Research Assistant