Parasol unit’s projects offer fertile ground for exploration into contemporary artistic practices and ideas. Through three annual projects – EXPOSURE Award, Parasol Public and Parasolstice – Parasol unit strives to make high quality contemporary art as accessible as possible, whilst questioning the boundaries of audience engagement and supporting artists at key stages in their career.
For its ongoing series of Parasolstice – Winter Light projects, Parasol unit commissions an international artist to create a sculptural work that addresses the phenomenon of light. Throughout the winter months, the work illuminates the outdoor space at the foundation, and is accompanied by a related programme of events.
For these one-off projects Parasol unit organises an experimental performance event in a public outdoor space in London. These intriguing, week-long events take contemporary art to a new audience by attracting the participation of passers-by, whose initial curiosity quickly becomes active enthusiasm.
Ana Gallardo: A place to live when we are old, Parasol unit installation view 2012, Courtesy Ana Gallardo, Mario Gomez Casas, Ramiro Gallardo and Parasol unit, London. Photography: Hugo Glendinning
Since 2009, the annual Parasol unit EXPOSURE Award has celebrated emerging art school graduates by exhibiting their work professionally at a time that ensures international exposure. Following a rotating format, Parasol unit invites one London art school a year to nominate a shortlist of candidates for the Award. A judging panel selects the winners according to the innovative skills and excellence in aesthetics demonstrated by the young artists. Three winning graduates are then invited to mount a month-long exhibition at the Parasol unit gallery during the annual Frieze Art Fair. Along with a modest cash prize the winning graduates are also given the opportunity to present their work during a public panel discussion at the gallery.
Sean Steadman. Green Bather, 2012. Oil and acrylic ink on canvas. 84 x 60 inches. Private Collection. Courtesy of the artist