Tuesday 14 February – Saturday 13 May
Reading International is pleased to announce Matt Copson and Alastair MacKinven’s ‘Eggy and Seedy’, a multifaceted project comprising an exhibition of works on paper by forty international artists in a local café, a show in a refurbished office block, a serialised radio play, a group performance in a shopping mall, two concerts and the publication of a 7” vinyl record featuring Mike Skinner (formerly of The Streets). Additional contributors include Ben Wallers (formerly of the band The County Teasers) and the musician felicita.
The initial exhibition of drawings and painted works on paper will open on Saturday 18 February with a special event at Munchees, a café situated on Butter Market in Reading town centre, while MacKinven’s play will air on the University of Reading’s radio station for the duration of the project to reveal a narrative involving a romantic relationship between two historical Land Artists.
This new work originates from two previous performances that connect the processes of entropy, regeneration and remaking – All of the things that you could be by now if Robert Smithson’s wife was your mother (2006/7) and When the Schtick Hits the Fan (2009) – and forms part of an ongoing plot within the artist’s work.
Interestingly, MacKinven was asked to present a birthing ceremony by a midwifery hospital in Manchester after the clinic misunderstood the artist’s previous actions as practical presentations, instead of their intention to show symbolic rebirth. This misinterpretation led to MacKinven’s plan for the radio play in Reading.
To continue this dialogue around storytelling, misrecognition, welfare and regional UK culture, Saturday 4 March will see a series of actors, loosely directed by Copson and MacKinven, perform for an eight-hour period in response to the commercial heart of Reading, while the launch of the second exhibition will take place within Thames Tower, a recently refurbished 1970s office block situated next to Reading railway station.
Other events include a public lecture on the concept of ‘Milk Art’ at South Street theatre on Saturday 29 April, an official finissage party on Saturday 6 May (this will include the launch of the 7” vinyl record featuring Alastair MacKinven, Mike Skinner, Matt Copson and felicita, and performances by musical outfits The Stallion, felicita and very special guests), alongside a final book signing on Saturday 15 July for a new issue of the magazine Da Thirst, which will contain documentation of Copson and MacKinven’s entire project.
Importantly, painting will bookend Reading International’s initial run between early 2017 and late 2019, with a major exhibition planned for mid-2019 that will present a synthesis between contemporary international ‘networked’ and ‘outsider’ practices.
With this in mind, Copson and MacKinven’s opening event at Munchees forms an eccentric platform for international artists who are currently extending the boundaries of painting, while their wider project aims to activate regional venues, through a curatorial approach redolent of historical predecessors such as the late US museum director Walter Hopps, who was known for his unconventional and ground-breaking approaches to exhibition-making.