Preview: Andr̩ Stitt РSubstance

André Stitt, Nostalgia. Courtesy Golden Thread Gallery.

Exhibition: André Stitt – Substance, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, until March 6 2010

The 1970s and 1980s were André Stitt’s formative years. He lived in Belfast. Conflict and trauma may be his greatest artistic influences.

In a city where people took sides, Stitt chose a truly committed medium: performance art. His work is hard hitting, so much so that it comes with a warning. This show may not be suitable for all audiences, says Golden Thread Gallery.

A few of Stitt’s themes include alienation, oppression and coercion, so we should be pleased his work has the power to shock a Belfast audience. It is better for art to offer these experiences than everyday life.

For all that, Substance offers an objective view of his well-documented performance events. Stitt may refer to them as “akshuns” but they are never less than intelligent. A documentary as part of the exhibition reveals some of the thinking behind them.

He may be one of Northern Ireland’s most important contemporary art exports, but this will be an overdue chance for locals to see a major show by Stitt. Many of the pieces on display have never been seen before.

The artist now lives in Cardiff. This show is part retrospective, part catalogue, perhaps part homecoming.

Written for Culture24.

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