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The Factory Project: Backhaus - FAD Magazine

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The Factory Project: Backhaus

Opening this October in a 67,000 sqft industrial space The Factory Project promises to be one of the highlights of Frieze week. Over the coming weeks, FAD is talking to all ten curatorial teams taking part in the museum scale exhibition. Below we have Jacob Barnes of Backhaus.

Can you tell us about your curatorial practice?
I would characterize Backhaus’ collective curatorial practice as one founded practically in juxtaposition and intuition, using the thematic framework of contemporary socio-political issues. That’s to say, we work to put artists and works together in ways that feel original and natural, while often doing so as a way to comment on the world around us.

Can you tell us a bit about the exhibition you will be presenting at The Factory Project?
The project is a one-piece installation, accompanied by an essay written for the occasion. One of the first things that struck me about the location was the history of sugar in both the British Empire and the growth of modern capitalism. Of course, everyone experiences these things differently, so I wanted to create something which was more commemorative than didactic.

Which artists have you invited to take part in your section of The Factory Project and why have you chosen them? Simple, just me, and I’m doing it because I know exactly what I want, and as the old saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself!

How do you feel about the hijack of the word curator by editors, stylists, DJs, z list celebs, a list celebs, tv personalities & influencers? I think people care too much about titles. I came onto this as a curator, I’m now the artist, I suppose, but at the end of the day, I’m just a person using a platform to put a piece of art into the world. Editors, stylists, etc. can call themselves what they wish – doesn’t much change my work!

The Factory Project takes place in a very large IRL exhibition space. How do you envision your exhibition to be presented? Simply – outdoors, where people see it and can appreciate it in its context. This is very site-specific, so the location is everything.

During COVID/ lockdown what have you been reading, watching, listening to?
Everything about sugar!

Have there been any positives for you from lockdown? Just the opportunity to take risks, as well as the complete shake-up that came with a new world order – lockdown allowed me to go from finishing a masters having no idea what I was doing with my life to running a magazine distributed across the world and now an international gallery. There are lots of positives and negatives in there, but just the opportunity to go for things was great. 

2022 what do you have plans? & do you feel confident about the future?
I have lots of plans – where to begin? I’ve recently become a bit superstitious about these things, so I’ll keep them close to my chest. As for whether or not I feel confident about the future, yes and no: I’m confident about the work that I and those I work with will be able to do in our respective communities, but I absolutely am not confident about the future in a broader sense. However, these two things intertwine closely – I’m excited to do work that helps and excites people, but some of that work necessarily has to be done in a world that is a very difficult, at times scary place.

The Factory Project is one of the largest curated events during London’s Frieze week and will be held at Thameside Industrial Estate, from 9 – 22 October 2021. Free Tickets

The Factory Project is an independent museum-scale exhibition that has been scheduled to take place during London’s Frieze week. It has been initiated to support emerging to mid-career artists and curators and is presented as a multi-disciplinary survey project. This exhibition plays host to 10 UK based independent curators and curatorial platforms; each producing their own exhibitions within the larger factory site and will be showcasing upwards of 80 artists.

The Factory Project takes place at the monumental Thameside Industrial Estate, a 6,284m2 warehouse and yard complex in North Woolwich, Newham – a short walk from London’s City Airport and nestled between the Tate & Lyle’s Sugar Refinery and the Thames Barrier – on Factory Road. It is produced by Thorp Stavri and is supported by Projekt and FAD Magazine.

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