If You Could Collaborate

The fourth annual If You Could exhibition has opened: CR was lucky enough to have a preview of the 33 collaborative projects on show

Calligraffiti by Craig Ward, Sean Freeman and Alison Carmichael

The fourth annual If You Could exhibition opens tonight and CR was lucky enough to have a look around the 33 collaborative projects earlier today…

Contributors to If You Could Collaborate, which is at the Rochelle School’s A Foundation Gallery in east London, were asked to come up with a piece of work in collaboration with someone of their choosing, from any profession or background.

Thus we have designer Anthony Burrill working with astronomer John Griffiths; architectural modellers The Model Shop realising the typographic designs of studio Praline; illustrator Marion Deuchars teaming up on a large scale, cut-up motorway sign, with designer Margaret Calvert; and designers Andersen M Studio, collaborating with LekaGape, a care home for women in children in South Africa.

Anthony Burrill produced these prints with astronomer John Griffiths

The Model Shop and Praline’s Avec font, based on architectural floor plans

The A Foundation Space has been filled with the fruits of 33 pairings and includes a screening room for the four film pieces that were created for the project. There are some real treats here, particularly in the work of Jon Klassen and David O’Reilly whose looped animated film gradually breaks down to reveal the nuts and bolts of its own creation, so to speak (shapes become wireframes, for example).

And the Wouters brothers, Roel and Job, demonstrate the seductive powers of their Rainbowgun – a “calligraphic monster brush” that can hold up to seven working spray cans at once – as they go about illustrating numbers one to seven in a short performance piece. (Nice matching shirts boys).

We also really liked the piece by director Michael Moloney and DP John Hooper, which was result of the pair camping out in the Great Langdale area of the Lake District to make a time lapse film of night and day. The film rotates twice through 360º and is interspersed by flashes, each apparently set off by one of the pair using another camera, and timed to the music score’s 96bpm. The overall effect – particularly when daylight floods into the panoramic scene – is really quite beautiful.

The typographic efforts of Craig Ward, Sean Freeman and Alison Carmichael are also impressive, espcially when you work out that the flowing type fixed to the gallery walls is actually cut from wood.

There’s a lot to see here and much to admire in the new work that’s emerged from a very productive series of collaborations.

As Alex Bec (half of the It’s Nice That team with Will Hudson – the curators of the If You Could projects) says simply, “the nature of this was to let people make new things”. And in its essence, IYCC proves how healthy it can be for creatives to work with people from beyond their own professional, or artistic, spheres and create something original in the process.

We loved this: a Victorian sash window, complete with ‘crack’, by Stefan Kraus and Sebastian Wrong (apologies for the photo quality

Giant-sized prints on felt by Jesse Auersalo and Jesse Pietilä

Stitched and painted pieces by Sandy Suffield and Fiona Woodcock, based on “the poetry and wit” of Sun newspaper headlines

Also accompanying the exhibition is a 312-page catalogue (£15) that sheds light on the various creative processes that the artists used to create their pieces of work.

If You Could Collaborate is open from 15-24 January (private view on the 14 January) at the A Foundation Gallery at Rochelle School, London E2 7ES. The gallery is open 12-6pm and until 9pm on 21 January. More information at ifyoucould.co.uk/collaborate.

The full line-up of collaborators is as follows:

Andersen M Studio & LekaGape
Fontaine Anderson & Deanne Cheuk
Jesse Auersalo & Jesse Pietilä
BCMH & Smith&Wightman
Anthony Burrill & John Griffiths
Fred Butler & No Days Off
Jacob Dahlgren & Johan Löfgren
Marion Deuchars & Margaret Calvert
James Gilpin & Helge Fischer
Karl Grandin & And Beyond
George Hardie & Leonardo Sonnoli & Sara Fanelli
Hellovon & Timothy Saccenti
Mario Hugo & Micah Lidberg
Hvass&Hannibal & Anne Werner
Oliver Jeffers & Aaron Ruff
Karlssonwilker & Frank DeRose
Jon Klassen & David OReilly
Stefan Kraus & Sebastian Wrong
Max Lamb & Gemma Holt
Chrissie Macdonald & Marie O’Connor
Sam Messenger & Bart Long
Michael Moloney & John Hooper
Praline & The Model Shop
Rainbow Dropshadow & A Nice Idea Every Day
Rob Ryan & Michael Marriott
Jim Stoten & Andy Rementer
Sandy Suffield & Fiona Woodcock
Julien Vallée & Nicolas Burrows
Jorre van Ast & Damien Poulain
Craig Ward & Sean Freeman & Alison Carmichael
With Associates & Anthony Dickens
Job Wouters & Roel Wouters
Ian Wright & Riitta Ikonen

  • Excellent pieces of work. I like the last one.

  • ging

    I went tonight, it was brilliant. Alison, Sean and Craig’s laser-cut type was especially impressive, I thoroughly recommend a visit.

  • My fav is probably the most understated one, the sash and case window with “crack”. Now to find out more about the artists…

  • These pieces look great – I think this whole project embodies just how much more is possible when you add something different into the mix. I particularly like The Model Shop and Praline’s piece.

  • ditch teacosy

    i liked this show, and was very enthusiastic about BCMH & Smith&Wightman’s display case; especially their up front reasoning. What i felt was lacking, was due to the curation; more information about the process of the collaborations would have made it coherent, instead of just displaying final pieces, signed by names separated with ampersands.

  • Lovely lovely lovely really want to see this- ooooh weeeee wouldn’t it be sweet if this traveled to A-Foundation’s other site in Liverpool. Anybody? Anybody?

  • Will

    A big thanks to everyone that came down last night, and for anyone heading over in the next week there’s a double-sided A4 as you enter the gallery that has two or three lines about each collaboration. For those wanting more information there’s also a catalogue available for £15 that has an interview with everyone involved as well as process images. For those that can’t make it down during the day we’re open both Saturday and Sunday (12—6pm) as well as a late night opening next Thursday till 9pm.

  • couldn’t

    We liked getting turned away.
    Only to read about it here, thanks CR!

  • Nyisha

    A great show all-round!! I attended the private view and was amazed by the sheer volume of creativity and unique pairings that have created such diverse and interesting pieces.

    I was particularly amazed at the Andersen M Studio and Leka Gape collaboration. A highly original concept (taking impoverished orphans artwork and juxtaposing them with the feel and style of a contemporary design studio) – very impressive.

    Even moreso after hearing that all proceeds of the sales from the limited-edition posterswill be donated to the orphanage/shelter, Leka Gape. Well done indeed.

    Can’t wait for the next one!!!

  • What an excellent idea. More, please.

  • I was also there last night – great atmosphere. Some great work. I’m with Richard on the window, but also liked the architectural typeface and lovely films.

  • Fat Typo

    I agree with “ging”… the laser cut type design is beautiful. Alison is an extremely talented hand lettering artist who’s calligraphic skills have combined wonderfully with Sean and Craig.

    I also greatly admired the architectural font “Avec” but what can I say – once a typophile, always a typophile!

  • Jack

    Shame Creative Review have shown the work of 2 out of the 3 collaborations with the woodcut type pieces. Not really in the spirit of things now is it Creative Review for an exhibition about collaborations? Great work all round though, loved the Flag!

  • The film by Moloney and Hooper is really stunning. A lovely, and simple idea that works fantastically well. I would love to know if you can access it anywhere online, I’d really like to see it again and show people.

  • Thomas

    Great show especially the I agree with Marc – Moloney and Hooper film was amazing. You can watch it here http://www.michaelmoloneystudio.com/
    All be it not as impressive on a computer screen.

  • Thomas

    made no sense. sorry.

  • Mark Sinclair

    I’ve just posted the film (and a bit of info on its production) here: http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2010/january/24-hours-pavey-ark

  • Love it.
    To collaborate properly you need an open and receptive mind. Out of this comes great work. And then who knows – maybe even the solutions to some of the world’s problems?

  • This is exactly the kind of thing that will keep London ahead. Collaboration will the driving force behind the creative economy in the near future. Adaptable, imaginative, curious, and social; exactly what we need right now.

    I can’t wait to visit this exhibition, and it’s exactly the reason I’m trying to move my career into Central London. Does anyone fancy taking on an Art Director from a top 100 agency with six years strategic digital knowledge?


  • The film by Michael Moloney and John Hooper was inspirational. I am lucky enough to live in the Lake District but watching this film gave me a whole new perspective. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention.

  • The film by Michael Moloney and John Hooper was inspirational. I am lucky enough to live in the Lake District but watching this film gave me a whole new perspective. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention.

  • Love the Anthony Burrill pieces retro!