When people talk about city life being a rat race, they probably don't mean it literally (except for pest control experts, obviously). Greta Alfaro has put a rat's eye perspective on our rat race at the heart of her new exhibition, supported by John Studzinski's Genesis Foundation
When people talk about city life being a rat race, they probably don't mean it literally (except for pest control experts, obviously). Greta Alfaro has put a rat's eye perspective on our rat race at the heart of her new exhibition, supported by John Studzinski's Genesis Foundation.
In the semi-derelict Fish and Coal Building in King's Cross (Rat Building might be better), Greta set loose a rat with a camera to wander around, filming Edwardian office workers. She is casting, she says, 'a critical eye on the values and the way we regard our everyday life'. She is asking questions, she adds, not giving answers.
In this, she has the support of John Studzinski's Genesis Foundation. John, who has spoken at a Spear's philanthropy seminar, told the magazine in our Giver and the Gift column that Genesis is 'about nurturing young artists'. On the phone recently he told me that it's not just about money: 'Mentoring is a big thing, introducing them to big groups of people who can provide support.' Networks are necessary and Genesis provides its own through its recipients and associates; Harry Christophers, for example, of The Sixteen choir is in the Genesis network.
Greta, who was born in Spain and received the Genesis Photography Scholarship while she was studying for her masters, is one of Genesis' first visual artists. Her scholarship and the resultant solo show is important, says John, because 'she has a chance to present her ideas in a more focused fashion. It's important that young artists have a chance to present their work and get too caught up in the commercial side early on.' Greta can concentrate on her work, which John says has 'intensity and passion', rather than worrying about being saleable.
Too many philanthropists think money is their only means of helping: 'You have to be careful not to confuse money with support. Money is thrown at the art and we might as well throw it down the toilet. So many people don't have a clue how they're spending money in the arts.'
There is still government help for the arts in the UK, which is important, he says, because philanthropy is not as widespread here as in the US. Nor is it easy to put together an endowment: 'People are trying to develop endowments but we have a lot of fund managers who sat they can manager it better. It's very hard to raise endowment capital in this country.'
Greta Alfaro: A Very Tricky and Crafty Contrivance is on 28 September-24 October at the Fish and Coal Building, Granary Square, Off Goods Way, London, N1C 4AA