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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Alternative Risk Transfer: Interview with Eugene Perera

Artists, collectors and visitors set to be tossed into 2 story high giant “Gambling Den” in the heart of Brick Lane.

Written by Jessica Stokes and Valerie Pezeron

eugene-peraraPhotography by Egene Perera

Artists Eugene Perera, viagra dosage Eiko Honda and Christopher Thomas set up the A.R.T Organization or “Art Casino” in an attempt at initiating reflection on the nature of value of art, pill comodification and risk taking in the art market. Jessica Stokes talks to artist Eugene Perera about “after hours” poker sessions.

Press-Release-Alternative-R

Photograph courtesy of A.R.T

Jessica Stokes: Where did you get the idea for this casino?

Eugene Perera: The idea for Alternative Risk Transfer came out of my interest in art and poker. Poker is a game of skill, risk and chance where an experienced player, whilst having no control over the cards they are dealt, is nevertheless able to gain an all important edge through the skilful manipulation of risk in the form of bets. It struck me that this was in some way relevant to my own art practice where I was constantly assessing the risks within a particular course of action and working out what to invest in that action. By investment here I do not necessarily mean economic but time, thought, ideas, effort and skill and so on.  As an artist, I wanted to highlight this and ask whether such a way of working which potentially derisks is appropriate to the creative process and whether instead we should be working in such a way that failure is an ever-present possibility. As I began to think about the relevance of poker and how it might illuminate art practice and how artists negotiate the art market, I wondered whether it might be possible to create a work involving art and poker within the context of a wider exhibition. That is the impetus behind this show; it’s a form of ongoing research really.

A.R

Image courtesy of A.R.T

JS: What is your background?

EP: I have been creating art for around five years now following a Masters in Art History. Before this, I used to work in media where I set up a number of music and arts radio stations. Working in the media business environment exposed me to constant considerations of risk and as I progressed I noticed how I was better able to assess and manage risk, much like in poker and in art practice. The question now though is not so much how do I minimize risk but how do I explore risk. The exhibition Alternative Risk Transfer is an unknown to me and that in itself is inherently risky and my experience cannot fully prepare me for what might happen!  That’s interesting to me!

amber-cowan-image

Photograph courtesy of Mark McGowan

JS: Who are the artists that will be taking part?

EP: We have a highly diverse range of artists taking part in the show ranging from the extremely new to the established such as Mark McGowan and Anthony Gross. There is also a strong international strand to the show with Japanese, Taiwanese and US artists alongside a strong London presence.  The show encompasses video, sculpture, photography, painting and performance and there are a quite a few interactive gaming works such as the nightly poker games and a 24-hour chess performance created by Patrick Goddard. Many of the participating artists are creating work outside of their normal comfort zones that is commendable in this risk adverse environment. Furthermore, they are willing to stake their work in the nightly poker games in order to better understand how they respond to situations of risk.

JS: Is it important to be aware of the connotations of gambling and the encouragement thereof in today’s climate?

EP: I think it is important to be aware of what one is doing when you’re risking something in a gaming or betting situation. Unaware gambling is potentially harmful and we all know the consequences. With the Alternative Risk Transfer show at The Rag Factory, we are attempting to provoke discussion around what it means when we risk something so I think that has to be a useful contribution.

How about chance, skill and risk-taking in an unusual twist on the debate over the value of art? Give free rein to risky behavior at The Rag Factory 16-18 Heneage street, London E1 5LJ. The exhibition is on from the 10th to 13th of December from 12 to 10 pm. Why not come to the preview on the 9th of December from 6 to 9 pm?

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