Daniel Tollady
Apr 11, 2019

Full name: Daniel Tollady
Organisation: Folkestone Fringe
Currently lives and works in: Kent, UK
Practice: Spatial Thinking
Areas of interest: Art, Architecture, Space, Drawing, Sculpture
Favorite books: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami; Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve, His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
Favorite films: Blade Runner, 2001: A Space Odyssey

UK artist Daniel Tollady
UK artist Daniel Tollady on residency at the Prague Biennale. Photo by Severina Venckutė | Nanook.

Daniel graduated from BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design in 2009 at the University for the Creative Arts, and then gained an MA in Fine Art in 2015. Interested in notions of becoming and assemblage, Daniel’s practice explores the overlap between spatial design and fine art. Using structural objects and intuitive drawing processes, he develops work that explores and models new spatial possibilities.

When drawing, the first mark on the surface is heavily considered, and the second becomes a response to that, but whatever happens afterwards is purely responsive to the previous mark. Nothing but a pen and an inherent spatial instinct to serve as guides. His language of geometries becomes a tool to define a new composition and alters every time it is employed: a reapplication of previous decisions into new and different (drawn) situations, establishing a temporal continuity, a reterritorialization of the past into the present. When installing a site intervention, a series of sculptural objects are produced and assembled in-situ, responding to themselves and the immediate environment to form a new physical structure. Each installation operates via its own programme, whilst also seeking to highlight or diminish the pre-existing.

Daniel has exhibited widely across the South East in both group and solo shows and has created work for organisations such as the Ramsgate Arts Festival, Cheriton Light Festival and the Folkestone Fringe. As well as curating events that continue to explore his research interests, Daniel pursues collaborative projects that operate between architecture and fine art and regularly teaches and facilitates workshops that push the boundaries of design-thinking. He is currently a Sessional Lecturer for Design for first year Architecture/Interior Architecture and Design students at the Canterbury School of Architecture, as well as the National Saturday Club Tutor for UCA Rochester.

What inspires you as an artist?
To use art as a method of engagement, to create situations and experiences that challenge everyday perceptions.

What do you think is the purpose of art?
To push boundaries, to ask questions, to have fun.

Why are you a part of MagiC Carpets?
To experience a new culture, to collect stories and narratives and share my own in exchange.

MagiC Carpets project: Urban Archive”

As the city of Prague embraces tourism and creates space for stag parties and Thai massage parlours, the residents are moving further and further away from the city centre, taking with them any semblance of authentic life. The gaps they leave behind become Airbnb rentals, increasing the capacity for tourism and providing the owners with more and more money, the process becoming a symptom of itself. As it currently stands, there are already around 14,000 AirBnB properties available, encouraging the rise of the souvenir shop and other imitation ‘cultural’ attractions at the expense of authenticity.

As part of my residency with the Prague Biennale, I was invited to create a new body of work to be exhibited in their Urban Skanzen exhibition alongside other selected Czech artists, held in the Clam-Gallas Palace in central Prague. The term ‘skanzen’ originally refers to open-air museums, but in this context, however, is a more sensitive, yet derogatory description of attractive historical parts of cities where the excessive inflow of tourism has deprived the city of authentic life. In response to the subject matter, I created the Urban Archive, an installation that combines a breadth of field research conducted during my month-long residency there.

The Urban Archive functions on three plateaus: one of domestic space, one of personal experience and one of quiet protest. While each is distinctive, the boundaries are undefined, allowing them to exist symbiotically and simultaneously through the same materials at the same time.

Using a hand-drawn map of Prague as a starting point, I began mapping destinations and routes that I had taken through my own experiences, marking locations of personal importance or highlighting specific tramlines or buildings. Complemented with the documentation of isolated urban details, these subjective notations eventually began to encapsulate networks of local stories as I continued to embed myself further into the community of Central Prague. The map functions as a record of experience and datamining that then disperses itself throughout the environment of a bedroom, reproduced on domestic objects and amongst the household items gifted to the installation by the people I met.

Including the wardrobe found in the hidden recesses of the Clam-Gallas Palace, and the bed donated by a particularly insightful resident, every item used within the installation was given to me by somebody that lived within central Prague, either before the exhibition opened or during the opening event itself. The installation, on first impressions, may seem like another AirBnB apartment appearing in an available space, but I wanted it to form the basis of a quiet protest, a reinstatement of authentic domesticity in the city centre, even if only temporarily. The objects become totems of authentic life in a space where this no longer exists, in a district where this is quickly disappearing.

Contact Daniel Tollady

Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @daniel.tollady
Website: www.danieltollady.co.uk
Twitter: @danieltollady