Darren Nixon, The Awkward Ambassador (2016) Photograph Arthur Siuksta.

Darren Nixon The Awkward Ambassador

Year: 2016
Medium: Installation, paint, wood
Dimensions: variable
Brief biography: Lives and works in Manchester, UK

The Awkward Ambassador was commissioned for the collection through the inaugral StudioBook programme with Mark Devereux Projects, 2015/2016.

The installation responds to the notion of how a work of art assumes a restless existence as it finds itself in a public art collection, required to take on different ‘personas’. Installed in three different forms, The Intern, The Mixer and finally The Awkward Ambassador will each portray the work’s shifting relationship with its surroundings, whether in the University’s art stores (the intern) within the campus (the mixer) or when sent out on loan to represent its owner (the awkward ambassador).

In the first persona, the work is stored in seperate pieces, placed around the art store by the artist (and later, relocated as necessary by the curators). It ‘waits’ quietly amid the other works in the store. The second persona takes a wall-based format, protruding into the room, amongst gallery visitors, beginning a new sense of confidence. Finally, when out on loan, the work takes a large, sprawling floor-based format, the beams and panels standing proud like flags.

The colours, patterns and imagery on the panels of the work are inspired by existing works in the University of Salford Art Collection; and can be installed in numerous different configurations each time the work is shown.

Darren Nixon’s recent work has involved making shifting sets of structures from various groups of paintings and painted elements. Looking at what painting is and what it lacks, he often likes to focus on the places painting fails to reach as successfully as other media. The use of movement in dance; architecture’s incorporation of its surroundings; cinema’s exploration of real time; music’s manipulation of sound in space – Darren uses each new piece as a chance to consider themes and concepts which other media have come to dominate as a way questioning what painting still has to offer today. For further information visit: darrennixon.wordpress.com