This website uses cookies. Read more about our cookie/privacy policy.

Accept and Close

The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Legacy is a tricky thing to depict. The nuance of ages past is often lost in the artists’ translation. Or it’s deemed too esoteric by those looking for the unifying thread that connects works together. So how do we best represent the complexities of time and experience? And what place has the arts to reshape archives to be accessible, representative and challenging? These are the questions I find myself asking of Platform 22. On now at Site Gallery, Yorkshire Artspace's Persistence Works, and Bloc Projects, this three-part exhibition features work by five emerging Sheffield-based artists.

My first port of call is Site Gallery, for the section titled Dark Echoes. As I enter the large white cube, I see a delightful array of tactile and homely images. I become both perturbed and transfixed by Tyler Mellins’s work Receiver. Scaffold poles, aerials and old terrestrial televisions are repurposed to create an obelisk of unsettling dimensions. An idiot’s lantern (to quote post-war prime minister Clement Attlee on the captivating power of the TV). The flickering and snowy screens pop with found footage, creating a counterpoint to the overcast, white-out pallet of the artist’s digital drawings, Sigils for Communication. These drawings use the self-same forms. In doing so, they reinforce the melancholy one often feels the keenest when remembering the recent past. In an increasingly digital world, these data ghosts of analogue amusement call from the beyond to will us to remember them.

Tyler Mellins, Receiver. Photo by Jules Lister

The space by Adebola Oyekanmi in Site Gallery also communes with the idea of retrofuturism. Black Icarus and its accompanying film hurtle you into the heart of a black hole and out the other side. What occurs is the realisation that consciousness, life and experience are all one held note in the cosmic jazz being played out before us. Part concept album and part invocation, this work speaks of the need for less linear views of the time we share together. We exist best in moments.

Adebola Oyekanmi, Black Icarus. Photo by Jules Lister

Legacies can be distorted. Colonial authorities wilfully ignore and suppress truths to gather, hoard and protect power. Reclaiming these stories and readdressing the commonly held history of objects is a powerful act of resistance. What Kedisha Coakley does with her work, also at Site Gallery, is use the tools of the oppressor to tell these stories. In Horticultural Appropriation: Settlement (working title), plush blue velvet against bronze botanical specimens evoke museum displays, but belie their anatomical arrangement. The specimens are suspended precariously and naked upon squares held at waist height. Coakley draws us into the truth of these objects through the power of a reimagined ideal of luxury. Precious things with a powerful message of decolonising the knowledge we share. The wealth displayed is both material and metaphysical. We are enriched by righting the wrongs of exploitation, appropriation and empire.

Kedisha Coakley, Horticultural Appropriation: Settlement. Photo by Jules Lister

Where Site Gallery deals in Dark Echoes, the works at Yorkshire Artspace and Bloc Projects use voice and music to impart their knowledge. In Theresa Bruno’s Gargantua, a cacophony of voices meanders jaggedly across the overwhelming fractal plains of a deconstructed Argos catalogue. The piece invites us into a capitalist nightmare while seeking to sooth us with the Greek chorus of slogans and catchy sound bites. Creation, destruction and impulse in an infinite loop.

Theresa Bruno, Gargantua. Photo by Jules Lister

At Bloc Projects, Rian Treanor’s Cumulative Entanglement attempts to conduct conductivity. His vast sculptural form of scaffold and lighting, while using similar materials to that of Mellins, instils instead a sense of play and cooperation. Our ancestors came to the warmth of the fire to hear stories and share experiences. Here, Treanor gives us a modern crucible for thought and exchange.

When seeking to answer my initial question, I come to this conclusion: Platform 22 tells us about the legacies we share by representing the different languages we use to categorise, catalogue and shape connection.

Rian Treanor, Cumulative Entanglement. Photo by Jules Lister

Get to know this year's Platform artists in our new series of Meet the Locals interviews:
Kedisha Coakley
Tyler Mellins
Theresa Bruno
More to come soon...

You might also like...

Rob Lee

A graphic artist whose large-scale geometric murals invite interaction and inject a shot of vibrancy into the city.

Yorkshire Artspace: Exchange Place Studios

A beautiful 1920s art deco building, with five floors filled with artists and craftspeople of all persuasions. Also home to an exhibition space, the not-for-profit Carousel Print Studio and communal ceramic studio Clay Space.

John Hoyland

Introducing John Hoyland (1934-2011), the Sheffield-born abstract painter who took on the international art world.

Capture Sheffield Weekend Photography Course

Multiple dates

Yorkshire Artspace: Exchange Place Studios

Immerse yourself in the magical world of photography with professional photographer and tutor Laura Page.