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Art Work Exeter’s spring 24 programme at Exeter Custom House was a playful exploration of the value of artistic labour, collaboration and object production through image, word and conversation. The results of 5 exchanges between 43 SW-based artists and writers assembled and displayed across the top floor of the Custom House, forming an interactive exhibition of artwork and artistic process inspired by the histories of trade and negotiation at Exeter Custom House.

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#1: A Social Exchange

Saturdays 1pm – 4pm 10th, 17th, 24th February and 2nd March, Exeter Custom House.

9 artists with an established drawing practice challenged and developed their work in the company of like-minded others. Four afternoons of experimentation and skills exchange responding to the setting of Exeter Custom House lead to the production of a collaborative work in process for The Exchange.

Artists involved in A Social Exchange: Cristie Bowcher Royce, Beatrice Corsetti, Susan Crowther, Louise Currier, Francesca Giuliano, Beth Heaney, Anne Madray, Tuong Nguyen, Stella Tripp.

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#2: A Thought Exchange

7pm – 9.30pm Thursday 7th March, The Long Room at Exeter Custom House.

A Patter Scatter event on the theme of Art and Value hosted by Sophia Clist, Mark Jesset and Gary Winters. Short hits of meaning and moments of revelation from 9 participants who combined images, words and sounds in 6 minute bursts. Followed by lively and convivial discussion on the evening’s theme.

Artists left a palm-sized artwork/artefact for sale, swap or barter. Audiences offered their thoughts and questions on Art and Value to include in The Exchange exhibition.

Artists involved in A Thought Exchange: Adam Garratt, Erika Cann, Gary Winters, Johanna Korndorfer, Paula Crutchlow, Rachel Dobbs, Sophia Clist, Volkhardt Mueller, Yara El-Sherbini.


#3: A Labour Exchange

10am – 10pm Saturday 23rd March, The Long Room at Exeter Custom House.

3 artists and 3 writers committed to a 12-hour trade in imagination to create 3 collaborative artworks through word and image. A durational, live performance, visitors were invited to drop-in any time and respond to what was happening in the room through observational writings. The artworks produced as part of this exchange are for sale, swap or barter as part of The Exchange.

Artists performing in A Labour Exchange were: Kenson Low & Kim Squirrell, Molly Saunders & Hannah Sullivan, Gary Winters & Davina Quinlivan.

#3: A Labour Exchange was developed from an original performance action by Volkhardt Mueller and Heiko Fischer.

Curated in collaboration with Literature Works. Typewriters supplied by Frances Kay Vintage.

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#4: An Exchange of Values

6 – 8pm Thursday 28th March, preview to launch The Exchange sealed-bid auction.

#4: An Exchange of Values – the preview and launch of The Exchange. In addition to viewing the objects and ephemera left by previous exchanges from the series, this evening event saw the launch a sealed bid auction for 6 artworks that have been curated to relate to the project setting, as well as other artwork and artefacts developed during The Exchange process. Artworks were offered for sale, swap or barter. Potential owners could trade with hard cash or offer a non-monetary equivalent. The auction continued throughout the exhibition duration, closing at midday on Sunday 14th April.

Includes artwork by: Sophia Clist, Francesca Giuliano, Nigel Goldsmith, Kenson Low, QbA, Catherine West.


#5: The Exchange

Open daily for sales, swaps and barters, 10am-5pm 28th March – 14th April, Exeter Custom House.

An interactive exhibition of artwork and artistic process inspired by the histories of trade and negotiation at Exeter Custom House. The results of the previous exchanges between 43 SW-based artists and writers had been assembled and displayed across the top floor of the Custom House.

Everything in The Exchange was for sale, swap or barter. It was your turn to trade! Visitors could participate in the sealed-bid auction, offer hard cash, or something else they thought might be of value.

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#6: A Public Exchange

On 9th March the Exeter Urban Sketchers visited Exeter Custom House on the quay and produced images in relation to the original business of the building and the area around it. Their work was on display as part of The Exchange, and visitors were invited to offer some writing in Exchange during their visit.

Exeter Urban Sketchers contributing to The Exchange are: Jon Calvert, Vanessa Cecil, Keith Hicks, Tony Homer, Rachael Jamieson, Pete Jenkins, Dominic Kearns, Sue Lucas, Michelle Parrington, Lyndzi Powney, Fi Rickson, Luck Rockliffe, Doug Smith, Henry Tomkins, James Turner, Roger Webster.


#7: A Currency Exchange: Artists Making Money

7-9pm Thursday 11th April, a 2hr workshop in partnership with Inky Fingers Workshop/ Collage Club.

This workshop consisted of a short presentation looking at examples of money being made, remade, reworked and detourned by artists around the world. Followed by a hands-on collage session using international banknotes (including Exeter Pound £4.50 notes – which feature the Quay), images of money, colours, shapes and patterns, vintage illustrations of people, places and things.

Materials and equipment were provided and participants were welcome to bring materials to augment their work (images of people who they think should be on a bank note, for instance) as well as any specific tools (knives, cutting mats) that they wish.

Workshop led by Stuart Crewes.


Volkhardt and Stuart were in conversation about the project on Phonic Fm. The complete 2hr show is available to listen to on The Ear Show: https://artworkexeter.org.uk/projects/the-ear-show/

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