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.
Hans Ulrich Obrist talks about the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ – a collection of artworks and mediums displayed together – this concept could be interesting for the Southsea Green exhibition as the whole venue, once curated, could be a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ in itself. If it were made into an experience, an event, not just a display of it we are already witnessing the Art the moment we step through the entrance even if you can not see the ‘Art’ yet. The whole concept of the pop-up exhibition could be to create an experience for the visitor.
“The Space presented different worlds inside the world”Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ways of Curating, 2014
Continuing from p.2 regarding overcrowding and the white cube gallery spaces…
This concept of ‘Overcrowding’ is also something I would like to explore personally within my own illustrative practice. By putting the pictures in close proximity to each other like in the 18th nd 19th century galleries it could almost represent a comic book structure, a story telling of the illustrations?
On a side note – could having the ‘White Cube’ be a distraction just also – humans so not live in a reality where there are white walls surrounding what we look at, it’s unnatural to perceive Art that has been orchestrated into something so prestigious. It should be displayed in a way in which the visitor feels comfortable and not intimidated by the formality of a gallery.
Would the space at Southsea Green remind visitors of gardens and parks, a familiarity with lots of aesthetic noise surrounding the work?
To White Wall or to not White Wall…
Philippe Perrano says in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist “Rather than walking through an exhibition, it is delivered to you” (Ways of Curating, Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2014). Even though this is in regards to them playing with the idea of time rather than physicality, the concept of not having art ‘forced’ upon you in a silent room with white walls makes the art more accessible to the visitors, perhaps if they are relaxed more they will find it easier to enjoy the work?
Obrist mentions in ‘Ways of Curating’ how placing Art in unusual spaces reaches a broader audience – it lessens the pressure on the viewer by taking them outside of the ‘White Cube’ and into a kitchen, hotel room or in our case community garden – a moment of tranquil from reality in the city center.
It could be argued that having so much distraction around the Art would mean the work is lost within it’s surroundings. However, Obrist also comments in regards to 18th and 19th century paintings that were hung closely together, almost touching that the images would stand out as a juxtaposition to its neighbour – for instance a portrait hung directly next to a landscape would contrast so much they would would emphasise each other just as much as hanging the metres apart on a white wall (so our work for the exhibition would not only juxtapose each other but also stand out against the backdrop of the garden).
Exhibition in Southsea: ‘Finding Art’ (working title) – an Overview
Southsea Green(House) is a great little community garden situated just off Canoe Lake in Southsea, Portsmouth. I managed to get the idea for exhibiting here through a contact in Portsmouth and emailed Carla who organises the site. After several emails Alice and I visited the garden and fell in love with the location.
A brief explanation of our art we are planning on displaying in the exhibition: Alice creates huge abstracts based on disused and discarded items she finds around Portsmouth, and I create illustrations based on words, thoughts and memories – quite a juxtaposition! – this contrast can only then be suited to an unusual venue, an experience visitors can feel relaxed to wonder around, without the pressure of a ‘White Cube’ type environment. This little oasis garden is a perfect mesh of seclusion and centrality.
The exhibition will hopefully be held between the 15th and 22nd of July, and I will be posting progress, ideas, curatorial concepts and research here to document the show.