Review: ‘£1 Fish’ pop-up exhibition at S1 Artspace

[Featured image courtesy of Natalie Wild]


S1 Artspace plays host to the pop-up exhibition ‘£1 FISH’, presented by the artist-led organisation (its all) Tropical.
The exhibition takes inspiration from William Morris’ rhetorical question:

“What business have we with art at all unless all can share it?”

A selection of artists anonymously create work with the production value and fee of £1. Artists in the mix include: Harry Meadley, Emily Musgrave and Lindsey Mendick.

Upon entering the exhibition, you are introduced to Del Hardin Hoyle’s piece. Through the medium of video, the novelty song ‘£1 FISH’ (produced by Muhammad Shahid Nazir) echoes through the high-ceilinged space. The work creates a mixed reaction of humour and unease as beside the video has been placed a single deceased fish. In the corner, the Sheffield based artist Lucy Vann’s video of the £1 “Moor Market express” bus trip plays on repeat, whilst in the centre artist Simon Bloor spray paints a nebulous black image on a large white board.

A wall of receipts showing each artist’s expenditure encourages a crowd of people to attempt to guess whose work belongs to whom. At the end of the exhibition, the audience are given the chance to bid on each piece. Not only artefactual works are on offer but also audience experiences, such as a 72 hour solo exhibition and a bus ride with an artist. All bids start at £1 and the highest selling work is sold for £125 by Caerwyn Clement.



[Image courtesy of Charlotte Ward]


There is an extreme sense of fun in this exhibition, exploring our approach to art by bringing art, artist and the viewer to the same level – the artist levelled by their anonymity and budget, the audience by their ability to afford the artwork and blindness as to the works’ maker and their associated prestige. The exhibition runs on a theme of fairness, creating affordable and accessible art work whilst encouraging the artists to venture outside of the norms of their everyday practice.

To some, the exhibition may be seen as a “challenge” that restricts the artists’ creativity due to the compromise in delivering an artwork for £1. However, this compromise is compensated by the artistic merit of the exhibition itself, encouraging the audience to think about the psychology of the art world, the audience’s relationship with the artist and the subconscious cues that typically influence our view of art, here denied to the audience.


Charlotte Ward


‘£1 FISH’ took place on 12th December 2014 in S1 Artspace, Sheffield.
For more information about S1 artspace and their cultural programme visit

For future projects from (it’s all) Tropical, visit their website

Filed under: Art & Photography

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