Creativity cannot be contained. Showing off artistic works should not be held back by a need to be seen in a specific, say, white clean environment, after all we started out in a pop-up space in Chiswick. Unit Gallery
The creative expression of art isn’t and shouldn’t be something confined to white-washed walls. After all, as creatives, surely the places they utilize can be as creative as they are. From volcanoes, car parks, bunkers to prisons, artists around the world have modified these spaces into houses of creativity. Delivering art in unusual spaces seemed to have questioned the idea of putting creativity inside a box. Here are ten unusual places that artists around the world have used to challenge the status quo.
In a prison
The empty haunting hallways and cells of Reading Gaol were transformed into a delightful art exhibition earlier by Artangel – an arts organization, in 2016 from 4 September to 30 October. One of the famous inmates of these cells was Oscar Wilde. The exhibition included readings of poetry and readings from ‘De Profundis’, a letter written by Oscar Wilde during his time at the prison. The works displayed were mostly inspired by the melancholic themes of separation and loneliness.
In a secret bunker
We’re talking about an enormous secret military bunker in Bosnia-Herzegovina that now serves as an art gallery. The bunker was originally used as a shelter as well as a command unit during the Cold War under former Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito. This byproduct of humanity’s downfall has now turned into a creative space. In 2011, the bunker was converted to an art gallery by artists Edo and Sandra Hozi and has been hosting exhibitions ever since.
Onboard a flight
What are the chances of watching a rendition of Romeo and Juliet on a flight to Verona 37000 ft up in the air? In honor of National Shakespeare Day April 23, 2014, EasyJet partnered with the Reduced Shakespeare Company to host performances
of some of the playwright’s best-loved pieces of literature. It opened with an abridged version of the classic Romeo and Juliet, followed by other famous plays by the literary figure. This also broke the Guinness world record for the highest theatrical performance.
In a Zoo
Anything like a live python or a bear or perhaps even a crocodile in a Shakespeare play would seem bizarre to most but that’s not the case in the National Zoo in Canberra in Australia. Wildlife keepers and members of the Wild Voices Music Theatre performed “Wild Shakespeare” at the Enlighten – a ten day festival, enacting scenes from Shakespeare’s work in an attempt to pick up subtle messages about animals and the environment that are reflected in his text. The event took audiences around the zoo as it served for an excellent backdrop to convey the intended message.
On the mast of a ship
Imagine swiftly gliding across the deck with a family of dolphins for an audience. Professional dancers from the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre performed on two vintage ships that were docked at a port by a beach in San Pedro in Los Angeles. The performance “Beyond the Waterfront” also featured singers from the LA Opera. The acts were granted special permission as they involved some perilous movements like dancing on the masts of the ships.
Inside a volcano
The thought itself may make you as well sweat! American metal band Deftones’ frontman and musician Chino Moreno performed inside an Icelandic volcano as part of the Secret Solstice Festival in Reykjavík in Iceland. The musician and 20 of his fans were lowered 400 feet into a volcano’s magma chamber for the show.
In a sewer system
Even with the filthy odour that lurked the sewer system, London punk-rock band The King Blues got down and dirty and managed to play an unusual and smelly live gig at the Great Escape festival in Brighton in the sewer system underneath Brighton Pier.
In a crypt
A home for the departed as well as an important revenue for the church, the Crypt of St Pancras Parish church was also occasionally used as an air raid shelter during the World Wars. Now, it’s a popular venue that hosts art exhibitions all through the year.
In a bowling alley
Turns out bowling alleys aren’t just for bowling. Shoebox LA exhibited the works of Kim Tucker in collaboration with All Star Lanes, a bowling alley in Los Angeles. The thought behind the idea was to display art in unusual places where one would not initially expect. Shoebox LA has also organized shows in a park and a shopping mall.
In a bunker
Yet another example for something dreadful turned into something beautiful. The Sammlung Boros is a bunker built by the Nazis in 1943. It is now home to a private collection of art that contains Berlin’s finest pieces in the world of contemporary art. In 2002, it was purchased by an art enthusiast and renewed into the beautiful gallery it is today and exhibits the works of lesser-known artists.
In a car park
Let’s talk about turning empty spaces into artistic stages. Gallerist Hannah Barry began an experimental project when she converted a modest multistorey car park in Peckham into a space that offers a novel way of presenting art and culture whether it is a prom, a ballet performance or even live music gigs. Renowned Dance Company L-E-V founded by Sharon Eyal and collaborator Gai Behar, recently performed ‘Parts of Love’, a special composition for Bold Tendencies integrating elements from their past performances into their new one.
Image One Marlene Dumas, Oscar Wilde (2016) Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison, 2016 Photo by Marcus J Leith courtesy Artangel
Image two Robert Gober, Treasure Chest (2015-16) Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison, 2016 Photo by Marcus J Leith courtesy Artangel