I see art as poetry. The function of poetry is to open the door to an experience of the infinite space beyond the material world….the silence between the notes in music….the white between the words in text….the phenomenon that many turn of the 20th century mathematicians, artists and writers termed the ‘fourth dimension’.
I aspire to make work that prompts and attracts the viewer to look at their immediate environment in a different way. One of the propositions underlying my work is that the wonderful experiences offered by art are an internal phenomenon, something that happens inside the viewer, rather than being external to our inner senses and perception. The art industry tends to focus on objects because this is what can be bought and sold. However, for me, art is in the subject, and the art object can only be a poetry transmission mechanism between artist and viewer.
At the crux of my practice, therefore, is a phenomenological enquiry. The work that most excites me is created when I am guided by my experience with space as it evolves. My role as an artist is to be awake and present within the world. Recognising that the beauty of poetry is, without fail, always within me.
This means that my practice is about ‘found’ rather than ‘manufactured’ art. Whilst clearly some intervention as an artist is crucial, my aim is to keep such intervention at a minimum. In terms of my approach to media, everything is potentially a material to make art from (or to recognise the art that is already there). Borrowing from the practice of psychogeographers, I am interested in accepting my environment as it is, making no distinction between the conventionally ‘interesting’ and the banal. Thus, even the ‘silence’ in which I seek to position my work is very much ‘Cageian’, where incidental sounds become part of the experience.
I adopt a Ranciérian radical equality as my starting point in making work, avoiding labels, borders and coding. This is set out in the Radical Gallery Proposition, from which all my work emanates. Focusing on the viewer’s experience, the Radical Gallery aims to activate art works outside established conventions and codes. This not only proposes radical ideas on the definition of art, it also offers me new insights on urban regeneration, economic policy, self development and the meaning of life.
Cliff Stevenson is a new and exciting artist producing original and challenging work. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a MA Fine Art (distinction) in 2015.
Cliff has found that performance art is currently the best means with which to work with his preferred media of infinite space and the artist and viewer’s connection with their environment. Recent major performances include:
- One week residency at the De La Warr Pavilion activating the Radical Gallery Bexhill. Culminated in tours of the activated gallery space as part of the De La Warr’s Dear Serge event. (25 – 30 May 2015)
- Activation of Radical Gallery St Leonards at De La Warr Dear Serge event at Project 78 Gallery (tours of the gallery 19 July 2015).
- 10 day residency at Project 78 Gallery, St Leonards (Aug/Sept 2015) – daily tours of the gallery and further development of the works using Project 78 as a sketchbook for the duration of the residency.
- An artist talks to an economist – a lecture performance at Fringe Binge!, a night of interdisciplinary performance by five MA students from the University of Brighton. Part of the Brighton Fringe (18 May 2015 at Marlborough Pub Theatre, Brighton)
- An artist talks with an economist performed at De La Warr Pavilion Dear Serge offsite event at Project 78 Gallery 19 July 2015.
- An artist talks with an economist performed at the opening event of Art in Romney Marsh (curated by De La Warr Pavilion/Dear Serge), September 19 2015.
- Regular tours of the Radical Galleries Brighton and Tunbridge Wells (December 2014-July 2015)
- From fear to infinity, the evolution of a new economics. A lecture at the Pecha Kucha event given by the artist-economist.
- Editions 15 and Editions 16 – Group show of all artists showing at Project 78 in 2015 (December 2015/January 2016) and 2016 (December 2016/January 2017), Project 78 Gallery, St Leonards.
Cliff has a BA and MSc in economics. For the last 25 years he has had a career as an economist working on international trade law. He continues to work in this area both in terms of consulting (www.cliffstevensonconsulting.com) and publishing (www.antidumpingpublishing.com). He is now combining his experience as an artist and economist in his new identity as the artist-economist and the development of a new economics.
To contact Cliff please send him an email on email@example.com.