press release

Far West is a unique shopping experience that transforms Arnolfini from an arts venue into a ‘concept store’, thematizing the consumer and cultural relationships produced by the shifting of the economic centre of the world towards the East. The store includes an ambitious programme of participation projects, off-site presentations, discussion forums, live art and film.

Part concept store, part Chinese-style tourist ‘museum’, part forum for consumer reflection, Far Westprovides customers with the experience of interacting with, producing and then purchasing, a selection of specially branded and exclusive products designed by artists. These items are made available within a theatrical setting designed in collaboration with Miessen & Ploughfields Architects, Michael Lin and Gunilla Klingberg.

The exclusive range of items on offer create real possibilities for art to play a fulfilling role within the customer’s individual lifestyle. Products include SOI Project’s Fruits project, inviting customers to create paper fruit by hand, in exchange for the real thing. Surasi Kusolwong offers a wide range of useful cheap plastic items as part of his One Pound Market, while the Unmask Group have designed a special toy prototype – a humanoid doll – which can be altered to customers preferred form. Yoko Ono helps customer’s to recycle broken ceramics to create new artefacts, and so contribute to ‘mending peace for the world’.

Liu Ding has created a limited number of unfinished landscape paintings for people to acquire and finish at home as a special extension of his renowned Products project. Seven Samurai offer a whole range of items created through their artist-led collaboration with rural communities in Japan, China and the UK. There is an interactive video jukebox of works by David Blandy, as well as a specially commissioned manga-style comic, while Support Structure provide the perfect CD soundtrack for the museum and gallery experience.

Artists are at the heart of the Far West ethos, the logo is even designed by the artist Xu Bing. Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno’s neon icon of AnnLee, the manga character, will give an understanding of the true potential of collaboration and cultural exchange. In the second floor project space, resident artist Janek Simon will present a recent work especially for the launch of Far West.

In a parallel presentation, a virtual metropolis, RMB City, has been constructed by Cao Fei within the online world of Second Life, made up of buildings from the ‘new China’, where a Far West franchise will open.

Off-site, a Far West Metro store will open at The Mall Bristol, in the Broadmead shopping centre, incorporating paper Joss items, imported by Maverick Press.

Far West is the first in the Concept Store series of projects at Arnolfini, exploring the realms of marketing, design and experience economy.

Seminar A message from our Chairman Sat 26 Jul 11.30am - 4.00pm In the spirit of transparency, you are invited to attend the board meeting for the Far West trading company. Items on the agenda will include an assessment of the launch of the flagship Concept Storeat Arnolfini and future development of a network of franchise stores, reports on the current conditions of labour and production, and commentary on international patterns of development in culture and commerce. Speakers include Brian Holmes, Gao Shiming, and Shumon Basar.

Far West is curated by Nav Haq, Exhibitions Curator, and Tom Trevor, Director of Arnolfini. Far West is funded by Arts Council England - Grants for The Arts, China Now and The British Council - Connections Through Culture. Presented in partnership with A Foundation, Liverpool, and Turner Contemporary, Margate.

Cao Fei, Liu Ding, Pierre Huyghe & Philippe Parreno, Xu Bing, Yoko Ono, Seven Samurai, David Blandy, SOI Project, Michael Lin, Surasi Kusolwong, Maverick Press, Support Structure, Unmask Group, Gunilla Klingberg, Janek Simon and Plan 9.

Exhibition design in collaboration with Miessen & Ploughfields Architects

only in german

Far West
Kuratoren: Nav Haq, Tom Trevor

Künstler: Cao Fei, Liu Ding, Pierre Huyghe & Philippe Parreno, Xu Bing, Yoko Ono, Seven Samurai , David Blandy, SOI Project , Michael Lin, Surasi Kusolwong, Maverick Press , Support Structure , UNMASK , Gunilla Klingberg, Janek Simon, Plan 9