AT PLAY 2012
Curated by
Cally Trench and Dr Outi Remes

South Hill Park, New Ashgate Gallery and OVADA

At Play 1At Play 2At Play 3

At Play, curated by Cally Trench and Dr Outi Remes, consisted of four annual exhibitions exploring ideas about play. At Play 2012 was exhibited at three venues: South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell; New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham; and OVADA, Oxford.

At Play 2012 - South Hill Park

At Play 2012 - New Ashgate Gallery

At Play 2012 - OVADA

Watch a short film about At Play 2012 by Jonathan Roe.

At Play 2012

The At Play 2012 artists were Leszek Blyszczynski, Andi Chapple, James R Ford, Linda Francis, Flora Gare, Rebecca Glover, Nick Kennedy, Philip Lee, Dan Lovelace, Sousan Luqman, Este MacLeod, Nyeema Morgan, Martina O'Shea, Katherina Radeva, Ann Rapstoff, Kirsty E Smith, Guy Tarrant, Cally Trench, Kim Walker,and Mary Yacoob, and eight artists from the artists' book collective AMBruno (Sophie Loss, Ingrid Jensen, Marco Cali, John McDowall, Jane Grisewood, Steve Perfect, Cally Trench and Claire Deniau). In addition, Gemma Cumming and Jane Tadrist led workshops as part of At Play 2012.

At Play 2012 was an exhibition that invited visitors to participate in the work, to engage physically, emotionally and intellectually, and to touch, play and explore. It included games, puzzles, live performances, floor pieces, as well as drawings, videos, artists' books, and sculptures. At Play 2012 explored the way that play can be free and spontaneous or bound by rules and conventions, and the spirit of the Olympics in the year that the summer Olympics came to Britain. It supported artists in making interactive and engaging work, and provided opportunities for professional development for nineteen of the artists, through curatorial support, critique, research, conversations, talks and discussions, and workshops.

At Play 2012 generated new work, including performance art at South Hill Park by Andi Chapple, Philip Lee, and Katherina Radeva, and at OVADA by Philip Lee, Dan Lovelace, and Ann Rapstoff. Site-specific floor pieces were made by Mary Yacoob for both South Hill Park and OVADA. A site-specific sculptural installation was made by Rebecca Glover at OVADA. Este MacLeod made new work on the theme of the Olympics for the exhibition at the New Ashgate Gallery.

Much of the work encouraged participation and play, including Leszek Blyszczynski's Personal Puzzles, Linda Francis's Rules Rule OK?, Sousan Luqman's wordsearch puzzles and Play blocks, Nyeema Morgan's Equitable Distributions, the AM Bruno artists' playful one-fold books, and Cally Trench's board game Shopping Spree. The work generated conversation and debate among viewers, especially Guy Tarrant's Confiscation Cabinets. Other work allowed for a thoughtful and thought-provoking appreciation: James R Ford's Scribble drawings, Flora Gare's illuminated sandcastle Castles in the Air, Nick Kennedy's drawings exploring chance and play, Martina O'Shea's video Connect, Kirsty E Smith's 'beings', and Kim Walker's depiction of the internal struggles during a guessing game.

An 18-page At Play 2012 catalogue by Dr Outi Remes and Cally Trench, designed by Jane Glennie, with information about the artists, is available as a printed book from At Play 2012 price £8.

At Play 2012 flyer

View or download
At Play 2012
catalogue as a pdf file.
Design: Jane Glennie

Dr Outi Remes and Cally Trench: At Play: Curatorial Notes about Playfulness

Dr Outi Remes and Cally Trench co-authored an academic research paper: At Play: Curatorial Notes about Playfulness, which they presented at the Association of Art Historians annual conference on 30 March 2012 in 'Museum & Exhibitions Session: Performativity in the Gallery: Staging Interactive Encounters' in Milton Keynes.


At Play 2012 was produced by Dr Outi Remes in partnership with South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, Berkshire; New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, Surrey; and OVADA, Oxford.

At Play 2012 was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It was also supported by Farnham Town Council, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art, New York.

Cally Trench and Dr Outi Remes would like to thank all the artists; Kate Ratcliffe, Visual Arts Coordinator at South Hill Park; Lucy Phillips, Arts Coordinator at OVADA; and Laura James, then Intern at the New Ashgate Gallery. The curators would also like to thank Chantal Addley; Gemma Cumming; Jane Glennie; Diana Healey; Ingrid Jensen; Carol McFarlane; Roger Prynn; Jonathan Roe, Robert Harvey at B & H Motors, Dagnall; Donnington Doorstep; University of Westminster; and Sandy Hill Bungalow.

South Hill Park logo

New Ashgate Gallery logo

OVADA logo

Arts Council England logo
Farnham Town Council logo

Cally Trench's homepage