Hidden amidst the high rise apartment buildings and defunct industrial infrastructure of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, a fringe creative scene is being nurtured. Tangent Projects stands out amongst these pioneers. Its gallery and artist studios are housed in an old repair shop here in the outskirts of Barcelona.
Tsering Frykman-Glen of Tangent Projects
Tsering Frykman-Glen started Tangent Projects as cultural association. This Welsh born, world traveled, mother of two, with a career in arts that spans from teaching children to set design for experimental theatre and arts curator, has lived in Barcelona since 2010. Tsering started Tangent Projects four years ago (with another partner, who has since departed) to offer emerging and mid-career artists the opportunity to showcase their work in site-specific locations and encourage experimentation. In other words, ‘go off on a tangent’ from the boundaries of the established commercial and institutional art world.
Tangent Projects Art Studio and Gallery
Last year, Tangent Projects moved into physical space of its own on an unassuming residential street in the Santa Eulalia district of L’Hospitalet. Tsering chose L’Hospitalet because of the unfeasible rents in El Raval and Poblenou, Barcelona’s more established creative precincts. After she found the locale, she painted it the obligatory white and converted it into seven studio spaces, a common room, and a no-frills front-of-house gallery. Six months later, the studio spaces are full and the gallery has hosted a different show each month, along with numerous artist talks and film screenings. On opening nights, a sizable gathering of art lovers, friends and assorted families spill out onto the sidewalk, beer in hand, partaking in the sort of low and highbrow chitchat that is somehow unique to art show openings.
Success in the art world is not easy. Is Tsering surprised that her project has taken off so quickly? “There are quite a few opportunities for artist residencies here, but not so many studio spaces to rent month-to-month, like we do,” she explains.
What has been surprising is finding the right mix of people so quickly. We really are a little community and the shows we put on are very bonding.
Although Tangent Projects artists sell their work privately, often online, Tsering is keen to point out that it’s not a commercial gallery. This is not dictated by its location, but philosophy. Although not strictly for women artists only (there is one male in the community of nine), Tangent Projects operates under ‘feminist ideals’, meaning it aims to gives visibility to the under-represented in the art world; women of course, but also non-binary and queer artists. “Basically I took the decision not to give visibility to white men,” she says laughing.
Barcelona Art Scene
For the city that nurtured Picasso, Tàpies, and Miró, Barcelona has a mixed reputation when it comes to its contemporary arts scene. Serious collectors tend to keep their eyes on Madrid, and its important Arco art fair (held late February-early March). Not to mention, Barcelona’s institutions provide very little funding for artists or spaces for them to work in. That said, Tsering thinks that, for a city of its size, the Barcelona art scene is healthy, especially for those who are just starting out. She believes L’Hospitalet has big scope as the city’s new alternative arts district – a process that has already started.
Artists are still coming to Barcelona to establish themselves. There is always a handful of interesting projects to see in alternative and artist-run spaces. This sort of activity keeps them here.
Certainly the warm buzz surrounding Tangent Project’s current show by Australian artist Katy B Plummer, suggests so. ‘Armour for Flowers,’ challenges us to accept mystical encounters into our secular world. The main piece in the show is a video work, which on opening night draws in curious passersby to see Plummer and two others play out a mesmerising tackle in gridiron masks and renaissance inspired costumes. “This certainly has the feel of a gallery in inner-city Sydney,” says Plummer, clearly happy her work resonates on the other side of the world.
Tangent Projects. Carrer Martí Codolar 41, 08092. Open Tues-Fri 11am-3.30pm or by appointment. ‘Amour for Flowers’ by Katy B Plummer on until January 24, 2020.
Other Art Spaces, Studios, and Cultural Associations
in L’ Hospitalet
Fase. A/del Carrilet, 183, 08907
Trama 34. Isaac Peral, 7 (3rd Floor), 08902
etHALL. C/Salvador, 24, 08902
La Infinita. A/del Carrilet, 237, 08907