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Richard Layzell    
The common threads of Richard’s practice and research are essentially about an engagement with opportunity. This takes many forms: a floor to be dismantled; a city to be re-examined; a gesture to be defined; a cultural interface with the nature of work and industry; a political campaign; a collaboration with six year olds; an intensive study of the foxglove.

Richard aims to embody a diversity of skills and experience, many of which relate back to his own emerging practice as a student at the Slade School of Fine Art in the 1970s. His interests and areas of focus include: environmental and gender issues; architectural space; performativity; the gallery context; the nature of interior dialogue; experiential learning; expanding the audience for contemporary practice and exploring the public realm.

His early work in video/performance is currently forming a case study for the National Review of Live Art Video Archive at Bristol University. This is an opportunity to investigate and re-contextualise a body of work from the early 1980s which was feared lost through technological degradation. These rediscovered works include Floor, Guide, So This is How You Spend Your Time and For Space, from 1980/82. A future initiative will be to re-edit and refine several of these works through the keen curatorial eye of his imaginary collaborator Tania Koswycz.

Between 1995 and 2002 Richard developed a series of acclaimed residencies/consultancies in industry, defining the role of the 'visionaire', with: AIT Plc, Promise, Chordiant International and Unilever, amongst others, working organisationally, aesthetically and environmentally. At AIT he worked closely with the chief executive to develop a unique culture based on a heightened sense of community and a free-flowing relationship with creativity.

Richard has been commissioned by Tate Britain, The Science Museum, Glasgow Museums, Kettles Yard, Serpentine Gallery, Camden Arts Centre, Bluecoat Liverpool, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and many other national and international venues and institutions.

An Arts Council funded research project (1993-4) led to the large-scale interactive installation, Tap Ruffle and Shave. This was first commissioned by Glasgow Museums (1995), which then toured to London, Colchester, Manchester and Newcastle (1996-8). It included a research visit to Japan funded by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. Targeted primarily at sensory impaired people, the exhibition had very broad appeal, and was experienced by 100,000 people. Richard was also co-curator for Art Machine 95 at the McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, where Tap, Ruffle and Shave was first shown.

Working with ResCen has been central in deepening a relationship to process. A journey that has led to the What Goes On process notes, the installations Tania’s Space and The Room of Freeflow, the web published global dialogues Talking to Tania, the publication Cream Pages (London: ResCen Publications, 2008) and the current touring installation The Manifestation.

He is also the author of Enhanced Performance (Colchester: firstsite, 1998), Live Art in Schools (London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1993) The Artists Directory London: A and C Black 1982, new editions 1985 and 1988 ) and ‘A great Technician’ in Spectacle, Subjectivity, and Subversion in Visual Culture since the 1960s ed. J. Harris (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2007).

Richard maintains a strong commitment to professional development for emerging artists and regularly employs former students as assistants. Since 2003 he has been appointed as a mentor for Arts Matrix, Commissions East, Expo Nottingham, Decibel, DIY and for a number of individual artists.

 
workshop photograph
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He now seems to have lost all anxiety
– John Chris Jones
   
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