We spoke to photographer, Ewen Spencer, about his project 'Kick over the statues', commissioned by Photoworks and Fabrica for Brighton Photo Biennial 2016.
PW: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us Ewen. To get started, can you tell us about the ideas behind Kick over the statues?
ES: The work is a new commission from Photoworks and Fabrica. When researching the project last year, the conversations I was having with the director of Photoworks was very much focused on youth style and the diaspora. One area I’ve been interested in, has been the rich plurality of the United Kingdom and how this informs music and style genres.
It’s difficult to deny the power that youth has in this country in terms of defining popular culture, even though I’m not sure they’re aware of that power, that’s maybe why it’s so successful because it’s not perpetuated in a particularly cynical way. It’s not about money.
PW: How does this series relate to your previous work?
ES: I think all of my work is from the same place…the Kick over the statues pictures may be slightly slower than some of my previous work. It’s more constructed certainly. But the subject matter is within the same arc of youth invention and subversion.
PW: Why did you choose Notting Hill as the location for the series?
ES: I chose the route of carnival because I think as an event it needs revisiting as a way of discussing or celebrating the plurality of cultures that I mentioned earlier. Especially when that is being challenged so blatantly by the current administration.
PW: For your exhibition at Fabrica Gallery, the show is made up of large-scale blue backed prints, skilfully printed by Spectrum Photographic. What was the relevance of the scale and using that medium in the show?
ES: The relevance was a reference to outdoor use of photography in advertising or promotion for club nights events etc.. I wanted to bring the external into the space.
PW: Are you pleased with the outcome of the exhibition?
ES: Yeah I think there has been an opportunity for all kinds of people who may not usually go to a gallery to come in and enjoy the work. That for me is a massive success. In particular, there has been a huge amount of young people that have seen the work and experienced the installation.
For more from our Ideas Series, click here.
For more on Ewen’s work and his BPB16 commission, click here.