A Serious Waste of Time (Non-works in Progress) by Andy Abbott
Marshall's Mills, Leeds. 18th - 26th March 2011.

In his first solo exhibition Andy presents a selection of videos, photographs, prints and audio pieces born of four ongoing and intertwined projects. The starting point for each project was a hobby, a spare-time activity or simply slacking off.

Andy’s interests are in the critical potential of play and time outside work. In an era where work creeps into every moment of our lives and even our self-initiated activity risks being instrumentalised by the State, we might ask what space is left for thought and action that breaks with the market-led, competitive and essentialist logic of capitalism?

Actions that include regularly cycling along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, swimming in Shipley Pool, walking up the hill to Baildon Moor or playing guitar in a DIY punk band are reframed, translated, expanded and performed in an effort to unpick notions of the authentic ‘post-capitalist’ self.

In seemingly disparate activities recurring themes crop up and linkages are proposed: between Birmingham Grindcore band Napalm Death and Andy’s falconry enthusiast father; the heavy metal rhythms that are held in the pre-industrial Bell Pits of Baildon and those performed by improvising musicians that swim; and memories of a ‘home’ in the Scottish Highlands embodied in the landscape of the Aire Valley and uncovered by repetitious journeying.

‘A Serious Waste of Time’ draws these projects into one space (a former flax spinning mill in Leeds industrial district) to better examine the resonances and discord between them. Whilst autobiographical in the main, the exhibition aims to go beyond a solipsistic self-analysis by proposing that resistance to a capitalist mode of being can be unearthed in the most everyday and innocuous of activities. Such work is never finished, perhaps because it is not best described as work.

‘A Serious Waste of Time’ opens at 6pm on Thurs 17th March. Refreshments and entertainment will be provided. All are welcome.

The exhibition then runs from Friday 18th March to Sat 26th March 11am – 6pm daily.

The location is Number 7 Marshall’s Mills, Marshall Street, Leeds LS11 9YJ (the bungalow on your right as you enter the Marshall’s Mill car park).

‘A Serious Waste of Time’ is realised in partnership with ‘Art in Unusual Spaces’ (a Community Interest Company using vacant spaces in Leeds for artistic purposes) and ‘Leeds Creative Timebank’ (an organisation creating a non-cash economy for the creative community in the city) with support from the University of Leeds and Igloo Regeneration.

Andy Abbott’s Biography

Andy Abbott (born 1980, Scotland, lives and works in Saltaire and Leeds, West Yorkshire respectively) is an artist, writer, musician and educator.

Since 2003 Andy has worked as part of the artist collective Black Dogs and has exhibited nationally and internationally: from self-organised public interventions in Leeds, to commissioned events at Tate Modern and presentations and workshops in Italy and Greece. Recent Black Dogs projects include the initiation of ‘Black Lab’ – an autonomous knowledge-production project (free art school) in South Leeds – and a dialogue-focused exhibition at MK Gallery that asked Milton Keynes residents to imagine and describe a future city situated on the recently discovered planet Gliese 581 g. Andy’s individual practice has ranged from the organisation of public events working with amateur and hobby groups in postindustrial towns (the ‘Festival of Pastimes’ projects) to self-contained video and book works.

He is currently undertaking practice-led research for a PhD in Fine Art at University of Leeds and is in his third year of study. His practice and research is focused on socially-engaged, political and activist art exploring the boundaries of that which we might consider a socially transformative praxis. A critique of capitalism, waged-labour and work permeates his activity. His interests are primarily in Postanarchist, Autonomist Marxist, and Situationist theory.

Andy’s entrance point into art and self-organised cultural activity was through his involvement in the DIY music scene. He continues to play in bands that tour the global DIY network and releases records through his own imprint and other independent labels. Andy lectures part-time in Fine Art on the foundation course at Leeds College of Art and is a steering group member of Leeds Creative Timebank (a project that alternative non-cash economy to help support artistic activity in the city) and Art in Unusual Spaces (a Community Interest Company that helps make vacant and disused city-centre spaces available to artists).

www.andyabbott.co.uk / www.black-dogs.org / www.festivalofpastimes.org / www.thatfuckingtank.co.uk















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