From an open-plan studio to a shared space in pub, Arthur Laidlaw’s studio goes far beyond the traditional white wall space.
Artist Arthur Laidlaw’s studio practice is difficult to categorise. It goes far beyond the traditional white wall space and instead it exists in a realm where domestic and even social environments become crucial to the artist’s development. From an open-plan studio to a shared space in pub, each studio space that Arthur has worked in has been very much community-driven, a factor that has resulted in the artist’s move to a studio in Berlin now. The concept of ‘place’ is indeed one of Laidlaw’s obsessions, in which many of his works examine the gap between a loved experience of a location and a fading memory that gets manipulated by external factors such as press or politics. His South Bermondsey studio looks sleek, partly due to Laidlaw’s soon-to-come move to Germany, but also because he had cleaned up the space prior to his ‘open studio’ event, taking place later on during the week. The artist offered me Digestive cookies as I look through his mood-board of road trip images, with numerous landscape and mountain photographs. I kept thinking about my road trip to Morocco and the endless curves of asphalt encrusted in between the mountains. This relationship, between the perspective from which an artwork is made and the viewer’s own, forces a confrontation and disentanglement of different views in a world of increasing division and encouraged partisanship, and is an essential part of Laidlaw’s practice. The studio incorporates vintage elements such a ‘Crosfield and Sons’ chemical tank functioning as a plinth for a spotlight lamp. Arthur offers us a sneak peak to a current Super 8 video work-in-progress, and ahead of his move, we exchange books and discuss architecture, material and the fact of not having any rituals in this space, except for listening to a lot of Radiohead…