From Rich Holland:
Aalto, an exhibit within a show called ‘At First We Take Museums’ in the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art in Finland. This was the worlds first large scale skatable sculptural installation.
One of the key artworks is Skateable Sculpture by Rich Holland. His work combines action with aesthetics, physical pleasure with visual pleasure. Sculptures that can be skated on are placed in a challenging position between highbrow art and urban popular subculture. He focuses on the issue about the right to public space, fiercely debated in Finland too, that is gradually being occupied by commercial and other private bodies. The exhibition and particularly the his work brings the outdoors indoors.
1) Do you consider your work to belong to the field of visual art or is it rather some other form of cultural activity / activism?
The nature of the activity is creative, the possibilities presented in each environment have endless combinations, the expressed result is mostly situated within the urban landscape. The work raises awareness to such thoughts, feelings and ideas, but the sculptures also act as a catalyst for such movements and expression.
In some sense the work covers all of the above, as it is the personification of the physical activity in sculptural form, causing and influencing a cultural activity.
2) Why did you choose youth / youth culture as the subject matter for your work?
The work, the actual activity is considered by most the above subject, as it is mostly performed by the audience in question. The piece reflects the natural shape of a wave, but brought into focus for the use of skateboarding. You could also argue that this piece is an obvious nod to skateboarding’s surf history, as such a piece has never been created.
3) Are there more specific issues that you wish to underline in your work?
The issue of public space is important to me, and the majority of the Side Effects Collective. There is becoming less and less of these free areas in most western cities, especially London where I live. Corporations and organizations are channelling more resources into creating areas that are aimed at making the public consume. The area along the river Thames in London is a perfect example of this privatization of space, as Southbank is now re-developing its open space purely to accommodate space for commercial properties.
4) What are the sources of inspiration for your work?
Nature inspires me the most, as this is constantly adapting to the atmosphere, but the we do get bombarded with other thoughts, ideas, logos, corporations and shallow marketing strategies on a daily basses. As humans in a city subconsciously these must affect everybody in some way, but consciously we try not to let them.
5) Do you find the museum / art institution a problematic context for your work?
The fact that a gallery is embracing such creations is a interesting juxtaposition of ideologies, but I do not think that this is problematic. Skateboarding adapts to the surrounding architecture and situations presented, each encounter achieves different results and expressions. Why should this be a problem in a gallery environment? No, if anything; it is a chance to create a installation that has never aesthetically or technically been visualized.
6) Is urban or street art relevant to your work / life as an artist?
Yes, they are part of mine and every city dwellers psyche, whether it is conscious or subconscious. This free expression breaths life into these environments, without this, towns and cites would become very corporate, as every designed piece of architecture is aimed at channelling people into certain activities.