Art so good that you might hallucinate

Published: Tuesday 2nd January 2018 by Courtney Farrow

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Kingston Art Group’s new Stendhal Syndrome exhibition might make you faint.

An artistic community at the heart of Hull, KAG provides affordable studio space for creatives.

The new curation is on display at their gallery on Humber Street until March and involves a vast array of artworks covering the entire space.

We spoke with Jayne Jones, long-time member of KAG, to find out more about this intriguing collection.

Can you tell us a little bit about Stendhal Syndrome?

It’s a complete overload of art. Stendhal Syndrome first appeared in the nineteenth century, when the wealthy would embark on round trips to Europe. It is thought that people would actually get dizzy, start hallucinating and often faint after being exposed to too much art and culture.

We thought that this was quite an apt way to end Hull UK City of Culture 2017. There’s been so much culture and art this year, hasn’t there?

What can people expect at the exhibition?

We’ve filled the gallery wall to wall and floor to ceiling with works by artists, associates and friends of Kingston Art Group. Pretty much everyone and anyone who has had anything to do with the group over the past year.

We set a maximum of six pieces per artist and we haven’t curated it; they were invited to just hang their work on our walls.

Usually, at an exhibition, you have to wait to take home any art you’ve bought, but here you can purchase a piece of work and take it off the wall the same day. We’ll just replace it with another one afterwards.

Wow, so it’s a bit like an art free-for-all then?

Yes, exactly! When we were first putting it together, we wondered whether it would work. But once we saw the finished project, we loved it. I think it’s just so eclectic. There’s something for everybody’s taste. We’ve got a bit of abstract painting, illustration, photography, digital art, printmaking and even some sculptures.

It really does sound like a fantastic way to end such a brilliant year.

Yes, we thought so. As a group, we will be leaving Humber Street in March, so we thought we’d end on a party. The studio is moving but we’re hoping to keep a gallery in the area.

Have you enjoyed being in the thick of it during the City of Culture year?

Absolutely. We’ve had thousands of visitors at each show. We’ve loved being part of some of the bigger events like Freedom Festival and Humber Street Sesh.

As artists, we’ve obviously enjoyed all of the culture and exhibitions. I think the City of Culture year has created a whole new audience for art. It has given people the confidence to walk into galleries.

In the past, I think many people have thought art wasn’t for them, but now the culture belongs to the audience. More and more people have been coming into the gallery, engaging with the work and asking us questions. It’s wonderful.

Stendhal Syndrome is on at Kingston Art Group Gallery until March.  

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Published: Tuesday 2nd January 2018 by Courtney Farrow

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