Exhibition at The Nutshell, Winchester. 27/1/20 – 2/2/20.
How can we expect others to see us when we struggle to see ourselves? Alice Harman, Stephen Eyre, Lily Williams and Bethany Jarrett explore how they view their sexuality by traversing the disenchanted role of being female. Making a journey of self discovery by responding to their position in an ever evolving society, allowing us to gain insight into three individuals perspectives of self perception.
K6 Gallery consists of two K6 model disused telephone boxes on Castle Lane, Southampton. Creating a gallery space from an object that was built for a singular purpose has made K6 an intriguing and individual venue for art. The constantly changing displays have to physically adapt to the space, challenging the artists and promoting not only individual and unusual ways of exhibiting but also providing an engaging space and bringing art to the audience, fully emerging a gallery into the streets to allow the audience to discover the artwork for themselves at leisure.
GODS HOUSE TOWER
Gods House Tower is a converted look out tower and church located by the docks in Southampton. Adapting this space into a crisp, white walled exhibition space transforms the history and character of the building, rejuvenating the space and allowing the audience to fully emerge themselves in the history of the building and the city. Juxtaposing the contemporary and historical.
Abducted by aliens, yet feet firmly on earth – this can only mean one thing: dreaming. Haroon Mirza’s Waves and Forms at the John Hansard Gallery transcends our very consciousness into another dimension. This is the very purpose of the show, Mirza states, the installations allow us to let our minds drift from reality, and each room toys with our senses.
Indeed, it is almost impossible to comprehend anything outside of each room, as pulsating hummings warp our minds and allows no space for internal thought. The way Mirza’s installations manipulate our senses is most apparent with the hypnotic Dream machine, which plummets us into a state of chaotic meditation – unsurprisingly, as his work is described as a coalition of ‘physics, shamanism, artificial intelligence and astrology’1. It is like you’re on your seventh coffee of the morning and ready to fall into a deep comatose sleep at the same time. In contrast, it almost feels like stepping into a tranquil peace garden when entering Pavilion for Optimism, where the crisp white surroundings and non-parallel walls allow us to be encompassed by echoes that we can control, allowing us to take as much or little of the room as we want.
Throughout the show, there is an indescribable feeling of safety and other worldliness within each room, whether it’s the soundproofed walls, beanbags, lack of natural light (for the most part), or noises that can only be reminiscent of running a long bath after a hard day, even the harsh flashing lights can’t stop the mind entering a dreamlike state. 1 https://www.jhg.art/event-detail/433-haroon-mirza-waves-and-forms/
Haroon Mirza: Waves and Forms at the John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, 19.10.19 – 11.1.20.
An exhibition is not merely complete when set up, it is the beginning of it’s journey, the start of the story that only we, as the viewer, can conclude. An exhibition, Ralph Rugoff states in Paula Marincolas What Makes a Great Exhibition is a form of escapism, a small interactive distraction from the everyday. The viewer can create their own ideas, stories and opinions without distraction from reality – a mini utopia. Come and go. Halt extreme left at The Winchester Gallery allows us to step into the drama of conventional builds and architecture, constructing a theatrical stage to be welcomed onto by Stephen Cooper, Bernice Donszelm, Vanessa Jackson, Mary Maclean, Jo McGonigal, Tim Renshaw, and Helen Robertson who question if our surrounding environment can be perceived as histrionic. The eclectic mediums on display engage our senses and deliver an aesthetic pageantry. Pondering the introductory statement upon entering, the eye is immediately drawn to Vanessa Jacksons vast juts of colour before being dragged away by Jo McGonigals flashing light, in turn tunnelling down to Mary McLeans print, which in itself is presented as if on a stage of its own. Turning your back from the channelled space we are presented with the length of the gallery with drapes, structures and paintings staged before us edifying our interest further into the exhibit. The ongoing intrigue that the artists have prepared for the audience allows us to question the theatrics in everyday architectural surroundings, and stages a catechism we can take from the exhibition, ‘an in-between situation that linked art, design, architecture, bringing people into a dialogue’ (Obrist, H. U. (2014). Ways of Curating. Great Britain: Penguin Books. (p.61)). Coming back to reality from the show with bombarded senses, we aren’t leaving with answers but starting a journey with more questions, debates and ideas than entering, the story is our own to conclude.
As part of the library induction we were proposed in groups to curate a visual representation of what the library means to us. Collectively we deliberated and landed on the word knowledge – the contents of a library gives us infinite knowledge, research and learning.
Our visual representation attempted to reflect this. Choosing a selection of books from a multitude of subjects to showcase the diversity in academia that the library offers. Using the computer to represent how a libraries resources aren’t purely on the shelves (our access to online journals, magazines and even online books provided by the library).
The physical layout of the books we displayed was an attempt to draw the audience in a direction to and from the computer, linking both key resources that the library has to offer. The loosely strewn books on the table representing how knowledge is expanding and not something that exists in a neatly organised structure.
Our collection of books ranged from academic writing to Chinese studies support book, showing that the library isn’t solely about gaining knowledge – it is also about the support it provides.
Interesting conversation sparked by this statement on a Banksy based Instagram page. Social media can be a great platform to spark discussions and gain insight into how others view art and theory on an international level.
“[…] alternative spaces, where a quicker response time, more curatorial autonomy, and less financially onerous stakes allow for a concomitantly greater ability to experiment and take risks. […] – bigger is not necessarily better.”
What Makes a Great Exhibition; Introduction: Practice Makes Perfect, Paula Marincola, 2015.
The Southsea Green exhibition has been a great experimentation in curatorial practice. Playing with the outdoor space, adapting to the weather, placing the artwork within restraints of a working garden, and issues with advertising, we have been able to modify accordingly to each issue raised.
Throughout the exhibition we have been very reliant on the weather, thankfully for the first part of the week it was incredibly sunny – not only to draw in the viewers but also to best emphasise our work. However, the past two days have been dramatically sparse, with the rain deterring many people off walking through the park or going to the beach – this being our biggest viewing demographic thus far. On reflection of this we should have prepared for ill weather by having a back up indoor space to exhibit, as our work was solely outside. There is a porta-cabin on the premises, however when we first approached the space we didn’t like the confined rigidity of exhibiting within the dark walls and were more excited by the prospects of the overgrown garden. This being England however, we should have foreseen bad weather and prepared the porta-cabin for use in case of this exact eventuality.
Although we designed a poster for the exhibition we regrettably left it too late. on reflection we should have designed the poster at least a month before the exhibit and placed it on social media as well as in the surrounding area. The garden is surrounded by a park, however there are cafes and pubs as well as shops very close by which would have been a great place to put flyers or hang posters to attract local people. Despite poor advertising the show did have ample visitors on sunny days, mostly people would come in from the park seeing the sign for an exhibition and leave not only having viewed the art but spent quality time exploring the plot and unwinding from the bustling city. Many people commented on the relaxing environment and it gratified our concepts for the show.
Despite the failures we had during the exhibition, most notably the advertisement and lack of adaption to using an outdoor space (both of which will be attended to in greater detail for the next exhibition) I believe something we should have also done is exhibit more work. Although we believed we had displayed enough, the space was rather large and so some of the works got a bit too lost and were not visible to the viewer who spend on average 7-10 minutes within the garden. If we had a greater amount of work, perhaps they would have been easier to spot and people would have spent more time wandering around appreciating the tranquillity of the garden as well as the artwork.
I have regrettably left advertisement for the show very late and only just started designing a poster for the exhibition. We wanted to incorporate the theme of the show being based within a garden on the poster as well as making it eye catching and simple to engage potential goers. This is the first idea for a poster/ flyer to print and post online…