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Nathan Coley: Where Did the Night Fall

Daydreaming With... Hong Kong: Nathan Coley

James Lavelle's co-curated exhibition lands at Art Hong Kong with its latest edition featuring artworks from British and Chinese artists - including the Glasgow based artist

Landing in Hong Kong today Friday 4th May, Daydreaming with... is the latest instalment of the ongoing exhibition co-curated by James Lavelle, which launched at Haunch of Venison in Summer 2010 as an arts and music cross-platform exhibition. Daydreaming with... 'the Hong Kong edition' will jointly curated by Lavelle and artist Simon Birch, featuring British and Chinese artists including Prodip Leung, Jayne Dyer, Li Wei, Clarke |+|AMP|+| Reilly, Shynola, and Nathan Coley who we speak to here about his past work and involvement with the largest fringe event at Art Hong Kong.

Dazed Digital: Is this your first time exhibiting in Hong Kong and how do you want the audience to feel or react to your work?
Nathan Coley:
Yes. Hopefully the first of many opportunities to exhibit in China. It's the new empire, tha land of opportunity, the home of the new brave and the not so free. I never want the audience to feel anything, I'm more interesting in what ideas make you think.

DD: What pieces will you be showing in this particular expo and what can we expect?
Nathan Coley: I'm exhibiting two works. A large reflected wall text that asks 'WHERE DID THE NIGHT FALL' (a lift from a James Lavelle song title). The text can be read correctly when seen through a mirror on the opposite wall. I guess it is really a work concerned with mirroring, and reflection, position and of course the poetry of those words.

The second work is a lightbox;
What Jackson said to Andy, 2008
(All Artists Are Either Cowboys Or Indians)
 
A quote attributed to Jackson Pollock speaking with Andy Warhol.
 
The premise is that individual creative minds can be described in two manners – Cowboys or Indians. The ‘Indian’ is the shaman, the storyteller, the nomadic mystic, the artists interested in your soul, the spiritual and the profound. The ‘Cowboy’ is the drug-taking street-fighter, the womanising trail-blazer, hell bent on finding a new set of rules, breaking down and attacking the establishment. With success, paradoxically, he often becomes the Sheriff in later life.
 
The truth is of course that most artists are a bit of both positions.

DD: What is your working process like for your more large scale pieces such as the house structure at the Baltic?
Nathan Coley: The larger works are made with me being more of an scuptural architect. Ideas are sketched, modeled, re-drawn, modeled and then fabricated. This of course involves many people, and at times I feel like the director rather than the actor. Input from others can be as often rewarding as a massive pain in the ass, but on the whole I find it a rewarding way to work. It is also becoming a necessity as I can't be in three places at once. Making a large sculpture in Australia, with timezones, translation slippage and mis-understandings can be demanding. I however think that negociating the world in the world keeps it fresh and makes for an interesting journey.

DD: What were the inspirations behind your text-based works, and is this something you'll continue to explore?
Nathan Coley: The text works have become central to my practice. Although routed in language, they deal with place and space, religion (and the lack of), public and private and so on. It's important to say that I am never the author of the texts. All the phrases are existant. I steal, borrow, re-use, re-cycle and re-contextulise what is already out there. Song lyrics, stories overheard in bars, texts from historical literature, oral history - I am open to alll! The best ones are so obvious, that I feel stupid not to have used them before.

DD: What are you most excited about now?
Nathan Coley: I'm finalising a solo exhibition with Haunch of Venison Gallery in London that opens in September. All new work - a goldleaf + photography series, a new large illuminated text sculpture, and a sculptural work developing my love of graveyards.

Daydreaming with...the Hong Kong edition opens at the ArtisTree on 4 May- 7 June