2|1|4|1 was founded in May 2013 by Glasgow and Edinburgh based artists Rosie Roberts, Kirsty Macleod and Frances Lightbound. Here they tell us how it all came about.
2012 alumni of Glasgow School of Art and Gray’s School of Art, Rosie wrote the manifesto, approached Fran and then Kirsty and we set out on a quest to find like-minded artists – also in the youth of their careers – to join us in our mission to alter the flow of opportunities and information in the notoriously hazy, nepotistic, post-graduation art world.
We held our first meeting with the original members in May 2013 and started to act together as a collective straight away; writing articles for the website, meeting monthly to discuss our plans and what was going on with the emergent art scene in Scotland. We interviewed, previewed, and reviewed many wonderful artists and exhibitions from Turner Prize nominees to final year students.
Our Manifesto outlined a commitment to bridging the gap between graduation and a sustainable career in the arts. Our values demand transparency and a desire to implement a go-to support system for all fresh graduates and early-career artists.
This support system not only includes free publicity for artists, their events and related happenings but also a curatorial programme. Within this programme we strive for accessibility, a rational approach to application systems and critically engaging exhibitions, whether this be in the form of showcases or more specific projects. We have a great residency/exhibition opportunity coming up next spring, which is a collaboration with The Number Shop – a new space in Edinburgh.
Every year we have a members show and party, our first one was in SWG3 with a mammoth turn out, a great party and a wonderful integrated programme with discussion groups, screenings, and in conversation events. This year it was a little more informal but with an equally engaging integrated programme including lectures, book launches and a super fun raffle. It was held at The Old Hairdressers a couple weeks ago. Our membership is constantly fluctuating with old members moving on and new ones coming in which makes these annual shows a really dynamic example of what the collective stands for – a critical commitment to the making and exhibiting of contemporary visual art.
Right now, one thing is clear to us as a collective: artists, whether they be young, old, established or fresh meat, recognise the important role that they play in a fulfilling society, and that this role can only be exploited or under-valued to the detriment of those who do so.
We always wanted 2|1|4|1 to be a place of free and open discussion, to offer the opportunity of critical writing for people presenting work, without feeling like any hierarchy outside of the strength of the work itself would be recognised. Nepotism, money, grand establishments and age-old thinking can only lock the door of opportunity if we let them, which we don’t plan on doing anytime soon!
Find more information about 2|1|4|1 Collective and read their manifesto on their website.