Art collective hosts final opening

CLEANING: Association hosted a silent performance where they tidied away all their own art with the help of notes

A MANCHESTER art collective is hosting its final open studio session at Islington Mill on Saturday 27 March 2010.

Association, a collaborative project between local artists Nina Chua, Ying Kwok, Sarah Sanders and Jessica Longmore, is hosting an exhibition of the work its members have created during the residency at the mill, which is the hub of Manchester’s art community.

A timeline that puts Association’s work in context will also be displayed during the final session, which runs from 5 to 7pm, and the outcome of the collective’s final mystery experiment, which will be conducted during the day on Saturday, will also be displayed.

Manchester Mouth caught up with Longmore to find out a little bit more about Association.

Speaking about how the collective came together Longmore said: “Nina Chua approached Ying Kwok, Sarah Sanders and I in early 2008 with an idea to do an exhibition together. Shortly after Ying broke her leg skiing and was on crutches for a few months, so the idea was put on hold for about a year. When we finally did meet up again, the idea of showing our work together in an exhibition seemed too straight forward and we wondered whether we could embark on something more challenging.

“Through the course of discussion Nina said that she wanted to create something that she couldn’t achieve on her own – this started us off thinking about creating something collaboratively.”

The artists initially called the collective Mutually Advantageous Association after they started to examine the idea of ‘symbiosis’ for their project and looked up the term in the dictionary.

“We liked the comical formality of the title, but it soon became too cumbersome so we condensed it to Association,” Longmore explained.

“We feel the title references the formal and fleeting relationships we hope to form during the project.”

Association has already held three open studio sessions since it began its residency at the mill, James St, Salford, on Sunday 21 February 2010.

SKETCHES: Association broke down drawing into tasks and re-examined the process

To launch the residency Association hosted its first experiment ‘Deconstructed Drawing’, where each of the members took part in a different role in the drawing process.

“I set the conceptual guidelines, Ying chose the materials to be used, Nina chose the technique that should be used in the drawing and Sarah executed the drawing. The results were presented in a small exhibition at the launch,” Longmore said.

For the week building-up to the second studio opening the artists rapidly made a huge amount of work covering the walls with drawings and filling the space with sculptures, objects and photographs.

They spent the second open studio doing a silent performance which consisted of removing and preserving elements of the work that had been produced during the previous week.

“We gradually cleaned the space and carefully followed instructions
from other Association members written on post-it notes and placed
throughout the studio.  These instructions referred to what they wanted to
preserve,” Longmore said.

“For our penultimate open studio we invited the public to take part in a live drawing event. Between 4 and 6pm Nina and Ying went on a series of walks to the areas of wasteland that surround the studio.

“Every time they returned to the studio they brought with them an object collected during the walk and added it to the still life that Ying had set up earlier in the

TREASURE HUNT: Association encouraged people to create a still life drawing of objects found on local wasteland


“As our visitors arrived, they were asked to select paper and drawing materials and to join Sarah and myself in drawing the gradually accumulating still life. During the progress of the open studio many drawings were completed and exhibited throughout the studio.”

If you would like to be a part of Association’s final studio session make your way to Islington Mill on Saturday.

For information about Association visit


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