AboutThis exhibition is the first solo show by artists Rebecca French and Andrew Mottershead and is the culmination of their two-year international SHOPS project bringing together a collection of intimate portraits of local shops and contemporary urban life.
Commissioned by Site, the artists have travelled to cities in Brazil, China, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and back to Sheffield to engage with a wide range of communities and audiences. The artists' interests lie in looking at societies through local shops, showing the possibilities of local difference amidst the dominant, highly commodified world of shops and shopping. Throughout the project the artists have invited shop owners, staff and customers to become involved in a process of participation and exchange, which investigates the regular patterns of life around certain shops and how they reflect a city and its people at that moment in time.
The gallery will feature a combination of photographs, videos, audio and text works, collected objects and notes from the international projects, alongside works made with Sheffi eld's very own J B Hats 'n' Things in Pitsmoor and Bardwell's (Electronic Components) on Abbeydale Road.
The SHOPS project had its beginnings in 2005, when the artists were commissioned by ANTI Festival, Kuopio, Finland to create the work Five Shops, in which the artists asked five city centre shops to invite their customers to participate in a ritual group photograph. Since then the artists have continued to develop the project at the Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance, the Liverpool Biennial (2006) and at EASTinternational, Norwich (2007). For the current strand of SHOPS, the artists have worked with host institutions Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China, Vector Association, Iasi, Romania, Galerija SàŠkuc, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Platform Garanti, Istanbul, Turkey.