One of the largest problems faced by Art Students upon graduation is well, graduation. Constant deadlines and the looming Degree Show make it particularly difficult to think any further forward than June of the final year. As a result upon graduation into the real world it is easy to find yourself in a vacuum of activity, without criticism from friends or tutors and without any idea of what to do now.
A recent practice that has become increasingly popular in Dublin is the establishment of collectives. A collective is a group of likeminded artists who come together to try to bolster each other’s practice whilst also creating an environment of criticism and support that is so sought after in the months subsequent to graduation. The idea is that by creating a group rather than going at it alone each member brings something to the table making it easier to secure shows, book studios and of course make art. One collective definitely worth keeping an eye on is GUM.
Currently in their 4th year in the National College of Art and Design GUM have already begun making waves on the Dublin art scene with recent shows in The Library Project in Temple Bar, and staring in a documentary about their group as part of the Pull, Bite Rally show hosted throughout Dublin. It can sometimes prove difficult to break into the gallery circuit in a city as small as Dublin but GUM are proving that there is strength in numbers. The collective is comprised mainly of printmakers, 13 in all. Although the mention of print makes generally makes one think of paper and ink, GUM are shaking the very foundations of their discipline with sculptural works, video installations and of course their almost performative sense of humour. A visit to the GUM studios is one not easily forgotten and you are likely to lose hours eating cheese toasties and arguing over who should win ‘Asshole of the week.’
More than this though GUM have proved so far to be a coherent collection of bright and talented young artists who shine not only as a group but also individually. Their interests are so different that any of their shows are an endless source of entertainment and intrigue. One of their most recent shows in Temple Bar for example showcased the wit and ingenuity that this collective is capable of. By pooling their efforts they both devised and hosted a show, which was unbelievably well attended and to me was a well deserved launch for a group as driven as GUM.
There are many collectives within Dublin alone that have stood the test of time such as BASIC SPACE and BLOCK T, a sign which bodes well for the likes of GUM. Though the future may seem uncertain their collective’s strength lays in their ability to overcome obstacles together, a key characteristic of a collective with the potential to go far. “We are stronger together purely because we stand in contrast with each other” (GUM,2014)
Watch this space.
You can find some of the works of GUM at https://www.facebook.com/gumcollective
Check out Josh Joyce’s art on his website http://joshjoyce.ie/
– Josh Joyce