Notes from Wales Issue 1: Autumn 2014 - Page 6

TRAW’ by Bedwyr Williams, co-commission between 14-18 NOW LIGHTS OUT and Artes Mundi, at Pontio, Bangor. SM: How is Artes Mundi evolving? KM: There are more artists this year. And we’re working again with Chapter and have a new partnership with Ffotogallery. So you’ll see more of each artist’s work. We’ve also shifted the focus away from the prize itself by working with partner organisations to run projects in other parts of Wales. People often ask me ‘What’s the model?’ and you could say we’re trying to grow our own. For example, we co-commissioned with Mostyn the exhibition Divine Violence by Broomberg and Chanarin. And in August we co-commisioned Bedwyr Williams’s Traw with 14:18 NOW. This was a video and sound installation at the site of the North Wales Memorial Arch in Bangor, which involved the projection of images of the many thousands of north Welsh servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War. SM: There’s a backlash from artists in some places against the dominance of international artists in public exhibition programmes. Does that apply in Cardiff too? KM: For me it’s about looking at the whole landscape. And of course that’s changing all the time. What we’d really like to do over the next two years is work with artists from other countries on longer-term projects which create relationships, friendships, partnerships and opportunities here in Wales. You could describe what we’re creating as a rhizome that’s beginning to show in other ways across the landscape. I would ask why we always raise this question about the funding of international art? We’d never argue that famous rock bands, orchestras and dance companies are detrimental to the local arts scene in our cities. SM: You’re the first Welsh director of Artes Mundi. Does it make a difference that you had already worked in Wales? KM: Well, yes, I pretty much know everyone and I’m well aware of all the conversations and possible criticisms. But I try not to think about it much. The main thing is that I have a passion for this particular place, at this particular moment. SM: What are the exciting developments on the horizon in Wales? KM: Gosh, it’s difficult to single out particular artists or galleries, without leaving people out. Of course Cardiff Contemporary is really exciting, because we’re all working so well together. Places like Chapter, Mostyn and g39 are always amazing. And the refurbished Glyn Vivian is something to watch out for next year. In the meantime they have a great off-site programme. I hope that this big shift, especially in Cardiff, attracts the attentio