Firstsite Folly

And so we did the Firstsite thing, dahhhling last Saturday morning,

But it’s been a bloody busy week on the work front – time has been a little tight to bash out some random words all about Art.

And stuff.

What we have here is three exhibitions for the price of none.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Firstsite is FREE.

And thank the chuffers for that.

Sure, you’ll have to fork out a few grubby fivers for the NFT luvvie films. But for a wander around the gallery space and a game of Pretend You Are the ART CRITIC, then it is cheap as chips.

Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Following the triumph of Vaucher, Firstsite is currently staging three exhibitions.

In no particular order we have:

Zhang Enli: Gesture and Form

Wunderkammer [oh dear] and


You’ll need to get a shifty on if you want to catch #WorldUpsideDown. It comes to a close at the end of the month.

There’s no swerving this: Firstsite was EMPTY when we strolled up at 11am last Saturday.

This was disappointing, given that it was the first official day of the new exhibitions.

An arty type lady did wander in behind us, declaring in her best plummy art voice:

“I was going to look at the art last night, but I had too much catching up to do.”

Which is the EXACT same reason as to why we give the Firstsite opening nights a miss. The unpleasant concoction of local luvvies and politicos is toxic. We’d rather stay in and watch Eastenders tbh.

Let’s take each exhibition as they come in terms of walking from one end of Firstsite to the other.

Zhang Enli’s Gesture and Form is a painting that attempts to fill the ridiculous space of the Firstsite sloping wall.

Good luck with that one, fella.

The Golden Goose has been greened throughout the spine of the gallery. Enli has created a green landscape that intertwines with a greater density as you walk along.

Is this the gesture?

Or possibly the form?


Either way it looks a little rushed to be honest. It’s almost as if Vaucher was packaged up, and then Mr Enli was let loose to do his brush strokes ahead of the deadline.

Can you tell what it is yet?

It is very spring like, and has led to the surrounding walls being green washed as well. Some of the livery from previous exhibitions was starting to look dated.

And then we come to Wunderkammer.

Oh dear.

This translates – not literally – as a Colchester Cabinet of Curiosities.

The Cabinet is a little bare…

It seems that this is a hangover from the failed Wunderhouse that didn’t get off the ground at Queen Street.

The idea there was for an overspill of the museum pieces that have no home locally. It seems that Firstsite has now found them by default.

It’s ACE that Firstsite is trying to address the local art issue; it’s a bit shitty that it has to resort to the rubbish Wunderkammer name.

This is what puts people off from visiting Firstsite.

The artefacts on show are a little stuffy.


They just are.

It has all the SEXINESS of a local library exhibition – which is exactly what Wunderkammer is.

Lookey lookey over there – it’s only the BONKERS baby stabbing thing that was a little OTT for Colchester library.

Meanwhile, Henry V’s historic charter for the town adorns the entrance to the female toilets.

Art or arse?

#WorldUpsideDown is where the real action is.

There is a definite connection here with the radicalism of Vaucher. A design for an old Crass poster is even included in the exhibition.

#WorldUpsideDown is a collection of protest art. It has the aim to inspire with a DIY ethos.

One of the gallery spaces is even put aside to create your protest piece. There are SO many possibilities for a bit of Sunny Colch subversion, Comrades.

The Man With Movie Camera film was pleasant with the jazz soundtrack for a Saturday morning. The inclusion of Martin Newell’s Miner’s Strike short was a half decent touch.

It’s such a shame that #WorldUpsideDown has only three weeks at Firstsite, whilst the 6th form art of Enli, and the museum pieces of Wunderkammer are going to bore our arses off for the next few months.

Hey hoe.

One thought on “Firstsite Folly

  • 14th January 2019 at 1:08 am

    Great images – and honest commentary that made me laugh!

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