Creative Director, Bank Street Arts, Sheffield
From the exhibition 'Exploding Poetry'.
Words by Noel Williams. Installation by Katherine Johnson.
John Clark is founder and Creative Director of Bank Street Arts in Sheffield. Bank Street Arts is an independent, unfunded Arts Centre with a focus on hybrid arts projects. John Clark's work involves not only curating exhibitions but giving artistic direction to the entire programme of exhibitions and events - although BSA is a small, largely volunteer led organisation it has an unusually ambitious programme - sometimes staging up to eight exhibitions simultaneously as well as supporting events and performances.
John Clark's principle area of interest is text, not specifically 'text-art' (which is an interest) but rather text as an interface in contemporary arts, the mediator of all we see and view and the medium of mediation. Many of the exhibitions John is involved in take the subject of artistic mediation as a central thread of the show itself - text as mediator becoming in some form the subject matter itself.
An important strand of his work at Bank Street Arts is responsibility for the innovative Residency Programme which is based on the principle of dialogue and exchange with the artists and writers who participate. The focus of the Scheme, as well as the Arts Centre itself is on the process of work being created rather than the product or exhibited outcome so common in many residency schemes. That is not to say that exhibitions are not part these residency projects but more that the focus is on experiment, process and most importantly the 'making visible' that process.
Central to John Clark's work is the challenge to communicate process in the work of others without somehow taking on the role of mediator.