Connect>Create 2008

Alan Currall, 'Survival Kits' (1997)

Alan Currall began studying a foundation degree in Art and Design at Newcastle - Under- Lyme School of Art in 1982. It wasnít until 1992 that he went on to study a BA (Hons) Fine Art at Staffordshire University. He followed by his M.A. from 1993-1995 at Glasgow School of Art.


His biography is quite extensive - having numerous solo exhibitions and many more group exhibitions across the U.K. and abroad. He has had several Residencies and Fellowships including being selected for the Scottish Arts Councilís residency in Canberra Australia in 2001. Currall has work in UK private collections , in the Arts Council of England Collection, and, in New York. In 1995, he became a part - time Academic Research and Environmental Art Lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art.


Currallís work is mainly video based, although he has done computer based work. His interests lie in the workings of the mind, be it on a physical level, creative level or social level, in the way we interact or transfer and receive knowledge. This is reflected in Word Processor 1993, Survival kits 1997 and more recently To My Best Friend 2000. In this single screen video, he embarrassingly communicates his heartfelt appreciations to his absent best friend but at some point it subtly changes into a relationship that is maybe too close for comfort leaving the viewer bewildered and unsure of the sincerity or dependency of the relationship.


SURVIVAL KITS: Shipwreck, plane crash, and nuclear war, 1997 (Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull) is a three monitor video installation with sound. It was purchased through the Contemporary Art Society Special Collection Scheme with Lottery funding from the Arts Council England, 2005.


Survival Kits: was the result of a commission by the Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, for an exhibition called Hong Kong Island. The theme was to explore ideas that could invent the impossible. Currall responded to this through using video media. He set a cosy scene, in a living room space, enhanced by a Christmas tree and the family pet dog. He depicted himself and his parents, but omitted their identities by cropping their heads or faces to avoid character study. Currall proceeds to ask his parentsí advice for his best chance of survival in the event of the three extreme possibilities: being in a shipwreck, a plane crash or a nuclear war. The relationship of a parent and child is evident in the way a child asks their parents impossible questions. What, when, why, and how comes to mind, only in this case the child is a grown man. Some questions are unanswerable, yet Currall continues to ask impossible questions whilst his parents do their best to answer them.


Alan Currall was born in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, England 1964.

He lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.


By Dawn Lord, student from the BA (hons) Contemporary Fine Art, Hull School of Art and Design 2009.


Further reading:

Encyclopaedia and other works (CD-rom and book), published by Film and Video Umbrella, London, 2000

Alan Currall (paperback) edited by Steven Bode

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