In ‘Exhibition’ by Lucy Steeds, Peter Osbourne is quoted in using the term “Constructive Intent” in regards to exhibitions not just being a display of the aesthetic, but a creation in itself, a construction of a space with intent to probe discussion, debates and ideas.
Exhibitions do not exist to make the audience question how the space was constructed, they exist to make the audience question the art, and perhaps even the art in relation to the space. Exhibitions create debates, ideas and inspiration, with little regard to the surroundings.
Steeds talks about the idea of broadening the ‘Exhibition’ to non exhibition goers. Making the space approachable by not labelling it as an exhibition at all, maybe even addressing it in an entirely different way, ditching words like contemporary, modern and even exhibition itself. I’d like to experiment with this concept for the Southsea Green exhibition – or as I may now address it ‘an intrigue for the visual senses’ (maybe not).
Obrist’s ‘Kitchen’ exhibition is of huge influence for this exhibition. The mix between Art and Reality and Art and Life. The artists involved in the exhibition did not alter the space they were provided with, rather they adapted to it, they injected their work within the kitchen and became part of the room – part of everyday life.
“There were no didactic panels or sound guides, and visitors moved where they wished through the rooms, encountering unexpected works of Art in unexpected places.”Hans Ulrich Obrist on ‘Kitchen’, Ways of Curating, 2014
By placing our own work within our life, our own reality of the garden space inside of the city it could be like introducing the general public to our own reality – a collision of lives.
The idea of having it within an unusual space like the community garden is to create a venue that Art can occupy, rather than just filling an existing room with Art we are creating our own room, our own new, fresh space for Art to reside. This gives the area we are occupying a concept all of it’s own, it no longer is just a garden but a home for our work tailored just for us, an exhibition for visitors to discover our reality and how we perceive not only Art but the Art World.
ART AND REALITY AND THE REALITY OF ART
Hopefully by having this more approachable and interactive exhibition it will allow more dialogue about the Art. The visitor can feel confident to ask questions in an informal manner within the venue with no pressure to understand or feel intimidated by the artwork of space.
“An in-between situation that linked art, design, architecture, bringing people into a dialogue.”Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ways of Curating, 2014
Obrist quotes Duchamp saying that the viewer does half of the work – this is so true, and if the viewer can then become part of the work then their understanding of the pieces will be made so much easier. We want to make it as easy as possible to the visitor to understand and appreciate not only the work but also the venue and the experience as a whole, so we need to find ways to make it fun, relaxed and pressure free for the viewers.
“Effectively visitors could curate their own show”
“A locus for crossing between Art and Life”Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ways of Curating, 2014
An exhibition space should not be limited to just the artwork on show, it should be a collision of the senses and a joining of Art and Reality, the Reality of Art.
Lucy Lippard was interested in the concept of Art not neceserily existing in physical form. It coul dbe a social event, the life found within cities and communities.
“Transform the activity of Art making into something experienced daily by the inhabitants of the cities […] taking artwork outside of the museum system […] into the streets and parks and fields”Hans Ulrich Obrist on Lucy Lippard, Ways of Curating, 2014
We want Art to not just reach people in the Art World but to the people who perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily experience galleries – and exhibition everyone, not a select few.
This concept reminds me of an exhibition I co-curated when I was at University which existed purely on social media, the space we occupied with our Art was live streamed to our Facebook accounts and we had a live presence on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr with updates throughout the day, open to questions posed by those who wouldn’t normally attend galleries either through time constraints, distance or intimidation, but felt they could approach the work we had on display online.
It’s easy to assume everyone can effortlessly say how they feel – which it can be, it can be straightforward to express happiness, sadness or anger but to describe how you feel and express it in a way that helps you process those emotions is what can be challenging.
This got me thinking about ways I could express myself in a manner that is easy to verbalise and for others to understand. Illustration has always interested me – telling stories through drawings without the challenges of trying to decipher concepts that exist within the work. Illustration is straight forward, to the point, it shows you what the image is trying to say without the viewer having to decode the meaning.
“Wunderkammer” is a term I found whilst reading ‘Ways of Curating’ by Hans Ulrich Obrist. It’s described as a curiosity cabinet, a collection of objects. This term was in regards to physical objects but it got me thinking about whether or not I could use the concept of the word within my illustrations – instead of a collection of objects could my realisation of “Wunderkammer” be a collection of thoughts, emotions and words. A conceptual cabinet expressed through a character within my drawings.
These ideas kicked off the initial drawings that then lead into creating a character in which I could express my thoughts. In conversation with a friend after a breakup I was struggling for ways to describe how I felt. I then came up jokingly with “I feel like an onion with three layers removed” – exposed, shred raw and vulnerable, like an onion that has started to be peeled. From then on all of the illustrations I created featured the Onion character, it was a medium for me to express my words and thoughts I hadn’t been able to convey before.
The Onion series is an illustrative collection of thoughts and words that I will be developing in time for the Southsea Green Exhibition in July 2019.