Tag Archives: Curator

Ideas for Council House Building

In the last few years, there seems to be a surge in arts’ activities and developments throughout Plymouth and the local Council appears to be encouraging a growth in arts and culture in the city.

Although Plymouth lost in its bid to become the City of Culture for 2017, one of the organizations Plymouth2017 who were involved in the bid stated that:

Plymouth is ready now to be a cultural hub (BBC, 2013, online)

Plymouth City Council were part of Plymouth2017 and pledged £20,000 to the bid, proving how dedicated the local government have been in trying to make Plymouth a City of Culture.

Further evidence of the Council’s support of the arts was seen in July 2013 when they gave the go ahead for a new “arts hub” (Plymouth Herald, 2013, online) Ocean Studios in Royal William Yard

The following month news of plans for the Civic Centre were released:

If a funding bid succeeds, a new home for Plymouth Arts Centre will be built between the Civic Centre and the Theatre Royal, creating a new cultural quarter for the city (Rossiter, 2013, online)

Also, September 2013 saw the opening of Plymouth School of Creative Arts for 4-16year olds in Millbay, with their purpose being

personal, professional and cultural transformation through creativity, the arts and high quality education (Plymouth School of Creative Arts, 2013, online).

With these examples in mind – one word kept springing to mind – namely “hub” i.e. “cultural hub”, “arts hub” etc.  Although I knew that hub meant a centre of activity, I looked up the definition on oxforddictionaries.com:


  • the central part of a wheel, rotating on or with the axle, and from which the spokes radiate.
  • the effective centre of an activity, region, or network:the city has always been the financial hub of the country the kitchen was the hub of family life
  • central airport or other transport facility from which many services operate:the airport authority’s policy promotes Manchester as an international hub; the city’s major transportation hub for bus and rail[as modifier]:major hub airports have grown up all over the world (Oxford Dictionaries, 2014, online)

The first part of the definition interested me and I thought this could be incorporated into an exhibition.

The Council House comes across as a very traditional space and I felt that some motorized, mobile or kinetic installation work surrounding the idea of the wheel or axle could create a more fun and dynamic atmosphere.

Examples of artworks which inspiration could be gained from could include Charles and Ray Eames Do Nothing Machine, 1957 and several decades later Edgar Olaineta’s, Solar Do-(It-Yourself) Nothing Toy. After Charles Eames in 2012:

Charles & Ray Eames, Do Nothing Machine, 1957, Image available from: http://architoys.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/charles-e-ray-eames-das-casas-aos-pioes.html
Edgar Olaineta’s, Solar Do-(It-Yourself) Nothing Toy. After Charles Eames, 2012. Image available from: http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmag/feature.php?id=318

Also, Alexander Calder’s work could be of interest and Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, 1913 or Rotary Demisphere, 1925:

Mobile circa 1932 by Alexander Calder 1898-1976
Alexander Calder, Mobile, 1932, Image available from: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/calder-mobile-l01686
Click Image to view: Marcel Duchamp, Rotary Demisphere, 1925, Image taken from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MpcOWSoFOc

I will present my idea to my fellow students tomorrow to discuss.


BBC (2013) Plymouth City of Culture bid failure ‘disappointing’ [online] London: BBC. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-22969022

Plymouth School of Creative Art (2013) Vision [online] Plymouth: Plymouth Colleg of Art. Available from: http://plymouthschoolofcreativearts.co.uk/vision/

Oxford Dictionaries (2014) Hub [online] Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available from: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hub?q=hub

Rossiter, K. (2013) Civic Centre to Become Four Star Hotel [online] Plymouth: Local World. Available from: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Plymouth-Civic-Centre-star-hotel/story-19681415-detail/story.html


Ideas for Saltram’s Orangery

The trip to Saltram was a very enjoyable experience and a great break from the city.  This made me think about how Saltram House and its grounds affect the people who visit and how this could be incorporated into an exhibition.

With this in mind I looked on tripadvisor.co.uk to see the comments people had made.  Here are two recent examples:

  • One of my favourite places to explore ,relax and enjoy. Views are beautiful and walks around to take at your leisure. Great to go as a family or to walk your dog’s. I personally like the bird life and cows close by . Well kept grounds grounds to see all for free. I like to end the day with a visit in the shop then a nice hot chocolate and cake in the cafe (Tripadvisor, 2013, online).
  • Beautiful gardens and a walkers paradise. We took our 5 year old twin grandchildren who thought it wonderful even though a little overwhelmed by the size of this magnificent house, that is part of the national trust. Home to the Parker family for nearly 300 years, the house with its original contents provides a fascinating insight into country-estate life throughout the centuries. Could not believe how many people visited this fine venue on a Tuesday afternoon but it seemed that all enjoyed themselves. Will recommend to everyone. (Tripadvisor, 2013, online).

I also thought that Saltram House would probably have a visitor book full of positive comments from visitors over the years.

This led me to think about an exhibition using text based pieces that would share people’s experiences of Saltram over the years and possibly centuries – as Saltram is, after all, a historic building with connections to literature – novelist Jane Austen no less and was also used in the filming of the 1995 period drama film Sense and Sensibility.  I thought there would possibility be a wide and varied selection of text from visitors, novelists and actors about Saltram House.

As mentioned in a previous post, as the property is a listed building, picture fixings cannot be drilled into the walls of the orangery.  An answer to this could be the use of large canvases which could lean against the walls around the room or vinyl lettering which could be removed following the end of the exhibition.  Examples of this, that sprang to mind were Bob & Roberta Smith’s recent pieces at the art centre:

Bob & Roberta Smith, Letter to Michael Gove and
Bob & Roberta Smith, Letter to Michael Gove (left) using vinyl letters and Cuts to the Arts (right) large ‘canvas’ made from wood, used to paint on text, displayed at Plymouth Arts Centre, 2013

To make the exhibition more participatory, a visitor book, wipe board or blank canvas could also be displayed to allow visitors to add their own comments of Saltram to the exhibition. If this were to be the case, then a student would need to be present to prevent anyone from drawing anywhere other that the designated books/boards etc.

Another idea, would be to interview and record members of the public – young and old about their experience of Saltram, which could then be used as a sound piece.  Several interviews could be played at the same time around the room to create a sense of ‘conversation’.  As I am unsure of how the acoustics would travel in the building, students may have to experiment with acoustic boards – perhaps text could be incorporated into these boards.

This made me think of sound and video installation artist Imogen Stidworthy and her 2003 piece The Whisper Heard where she used curtains and a parabolic dish to control the acoustics:

Imogen Stidworthy, 2003, The Whisper Heard
Imogen Stidworthy, 2003, The Whisper Heard, Image taken from: http://www.mattsgallery.org/artists/stidworthy/exhibition-1.php

I’m not sure how curtains or material could be hung without the use of screws but portable screens could be a possibility – similar to the ones used in our Studio 11 work space.

The window panes could also be potentially part of the exhibition as a way of advertising that there was an exhibition in that building, which would encourage people walking through the grounds to take a look.

This instantly made me think of Low Profile’s recent exhibition Against All Odds in 2013 at Exeter Phoenix where vinyl letters were placed on the window panes of the Phoenix:

Low Profile, 2013, Never Give Up at Exeter Phoenix, Image available from:https://www.exeterphoenix.org.uk/never-give-up/

I experimented with this idea briefly using the text “Dear Saltram, we love you” – which I felt would be an appropriate text to the exhibition idea:

Edited photo of Saltram’s orangery with text on windows

I thought that the text would work better horizontally because the windows can be moved up and down, whereas if they were placed vertically, the letters may overlap as the windows move down in front of the fixed windows.  I’m not sure how well this example would work, as it doesn’t seem very clear from a distance.

I will present and discuss my ideas with my fellow students tomorrow.


Tripadvisor (2013) Saltram Gardens (National Trust) [online]. Tripadvisor LLC. Available from: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186258-d215032-Reviews-Saltram_Gardens_National_Trust-Plymouth_Devon_England.html

Visit to Saltram House, Plymouth: 21 November 2013

On Thursday 21st November 2013, the CURA300 students visited Saltram, Plymouth with a view to potentially putting forward a curatorial proposal in the forthcoming months for an exhibition during Summer 2014 in the orangery.

Saltram House is an Georgian mansion owned by the National Trust, formerly the home to the Parker family for 300yrs.  The picturesque grounds consist of the house, an orangery, gardens and a chapel.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, the orangery was the focus of our visit and we met with Saltram gardener Antony Cockell to discuss the building.

The orangery (designed in 1773) is a large rectangular building with three large bay front windows in the centre and two either side, totaling 240 individual glass window panes (48 per bay window).  The windows allow for maximum sunlight exposure during the summer months, which is ideal for a summer exhibition considering there are no fixed artificial lighting facilities in the building.  Furthermore, the building is open to the public from 11am to 4pm, so visitors should be able to view the exhibition easily during these hours without the need for extra lighting.

The Orangery, Saltram, Plymouth
The Orangery, Saltram, Plymouth

At present, the orangery (as the name suggests) is home to the citrus trees during the winter months.  The trees will naturally be moved outside over the summer, however the plants in the corners and along the back wall will remain.



The other physical obstacles to consider when curating an exhibition here, are the fixed statues and a corner sink in back left corner.


Also, the property is a listed building and therefore no fixings that could damage the walls can be used i.e. drilling screws into the walls for hanging work is a big no-no.  Similarly, the walls and floors etc cannot be painted.

There is the potential to use electrical equipment i.e. audio or projector equipment, as there is a power supply in the building.  However, with regard to audio pieces, there may be a problem with how sound travels due to the large open space and high ceiling.  If audio were to be used, sound/acoustic boards would probably be required.

With this in mind however, there may be an issue with using electrical equipment because the central bay windows are kept open, therefore allowing the natural elements to a

ffect the environment within the building i.e. heat, wind, rain etc.  Also, there would possibly be a need for a student to be present during the opening hours because of the lack of security over additional equipment used.

Antony also advised that there would be no money to fund the exhibition but he could look into the possibility of sponsorship.

There is no doubt, that the beautiful property and grounds are breathtaking and the possibility of curating an exhibition here is a fantastic opportunity for work to be shown in a popular and stunning environment.  However, the limits on what can be achieved could prove challenging.  Hopefully, through our student collaboration, we will be able to brainstorm ideas and use our imaginations to create something worthy of this striking, stately property.


National Trust (2014) Saltram [online] Swindon: National Trust. Available from: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/saltram/

Project Assignment: Answering the Call – Initial Investigation

For our CURA302 project assignment, students have been asked to respond to an open call for curators.  Students can create a proposal for an open call where the deadline has already past or for a future exhibition.

I personally would prefer to respond to an open call which is live, as opposed to dead but I have found that the deadlines for many open calls for curators for 2014 have past or are due in, in the next week or so.

Also, I would prefer to respond to a call from the UK, as this would be more practical for myself, in terms of being able to be a present if I were to be successful.

The first curator open call I came across was the Hayward Touring Curatorial Open 2014. Unfortunately, the deadline had already past (6 January 2014), however, this call especially appealed to me because it was not just open to professional curators.

Also, it was an opportunity for a proposed exhibition to tour several galleries including project space at BALTIC 39, Newcastle upon Tyne, the Bluecoat, Liverpool and The Gallery at Norwich University of the Arts which would allow a large and varied audience across the UK to view the exhibition.

Click on Image to Access Information on Hayward Touring Curatorial Open 2014

Another curator open call of interest is the Franchise Program at Apexart.  Fortunately, the submission period for proposals is from 15 February to 15 March 2014, which would hopefully give me enough time to submit an idea.

Although Apexart is an arts organization based in New York, the Franchise Program asks for proposals for exhibitions anywhere but New York.  As mentioned above, this would be a more appealing call for me to respond to, as I could submit an idea for a UK exhibition.

Furthermore, proposals can be submitted my individuals with no experience in curating and is judged blindly i.e. the judges are not made aware of the names of the submitters.

The open call asks for the following with regard to concept and ideas:

The Franchise asks for submissions for exhibitions that examine a specific idea or theme. Exhibitions can be about anything that the organizer finds compelling and can take place anywhere other than NYC. P….The Franchise is an opportunity to help bring a compelling idea to fruition and to illustrate that the center of the world is wherever you are. (Apexart, 2014, online)

However, I am not sure whether this open call will be acceptable as part of the CURA302 project as it only requires a submission of  500 words to explain the idea of the exhibition, with no need to submit images, artist statements or cv etc.

Click on Image to Access Information on the Franchise Program, Apexart


Apexart (2014) Franchise Program [online].  New York: Apexart. Available at: http://www.apexart.org/general.php

Southbank Centre (2014) Hayward Touring Curatorial Open 2014 [online]. London: Southbank Centre. Available at: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/about-us

Simon Bayliss, Artist & Curator Lecture, 17/10/13

Simon Bayliss is an artist and curator based in the South West of England.  He is primarily a painter but also writes for art journals including Nom de Strip and works as an assistant at artist-led studio and gallery space Karst in Plymouth.

Bayliss’ will debut his first exhibition as curator at Karst on 31 October 2013, along with his friend and fellow artist Lucy Stein.

The idea for the exhibition called SS Blue Jacket, came about through personal discussions between the pair about what they felt the South West meant to them and was synonymous with – namely the sea.  They were also interested in the idea of mimesis – the representation of the real world in art and literature.

With this in mind, Bayliss came across the story of SS Blue Jacket in the book Shipwreck, John Fowles, 1974 – a ship which crashed into Longships Lighthouse in 1898.  Bayliss and Stein decided to use the story as a sexual metaphor i.e. the helmsman being overcome with sexual lust, steered her (the ship) toward the phallus (the lighthouse).

Image of SS Blue Jacket Shipwreck. Available from: http://airforceamazons.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/shipwreck.html
Image of SS Blue Jacket Shipwreck. Available from: http://airforceamazons.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/shipwreck.html

Bayliss and Stein decided that painting would be the main part of the show and wanted to use work which alluded to this animistic quality.  As well as using some of their own pieces, Bayliss and Stein also wanted to exhibit work by Beryl Cook, Peter Lanyon and Robert Lenkiewicz, as well as Shana Moulton, Edward Stein, Merlin James and Simon Fujiwara.

SS Blue Jacket, Karst, 2013 Promotional Image.  Available from: http://simon-bayliss.com/home.html
SS Blue Jacket, Karst, 2013 Promotional Image. Available from: http://simon-bayliss.com/home.html

Bayliss explained that these artists are all related to the South West and particularly with Cook, Lanyon and Lenkiewicz were/are considered rebellious outsiders who pushed traditional artistic boundaries in their work.  All the pieces included in the exhibition have or could be interpreted as having sexual overtones, suggest ideas about self-identity and pertain to the South West.

Although, Bayliss and Stein had some reservations about curating an exhibition which would also include their work, they decided to break with traditions.  This raised some questions during the lecture with regard to self-promotion and publicity – particularly as artists such as Cook, Lanyon and Lenkiewicz are all well-known, ‘big-names’ in the South West and exhibiting with these artists could potentially raise the profile of Bayliss and Stein.  Furthermore, are Bayliss and Stein presenting themselves in the same league (so to speak) as these artists?  Is this kind of self-promotion a negative thing or could it be considered a little narcissistic?  And why not use other local emerging artists, much like themselves?

Simon Bayliss, Wreck, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas. Available from: http://simon-bayliss.com/artwork/2979898_Wreck.html
Simon Bayliss, Wreck, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas. Available from: http://simon-bayliss.com/artwork/2979898_Wreck.html

These questions were not clearly answered, but perhaps there was some truth in the accusations thrown toward Bayliss, who at times seemed a little uncomfortable.

During the lecture Bayliss also described the curating process and highlighted the positives and negatives which came out of curating and project-managing the show.

The problems Bayliss encountered included:

  • not being able to exhibit certain pieces because of security, insurance, environmental conditions, refusal, not being able to locate the work and artists dropping out.
  • no funding received from the Arts Council – after applying twice.

However, there were many positives, including :

  • the catalogue was designed by Bayliss’ friend and renowned graphic artist Rupert Gower-Cliff who did not charge a fee;
  • Nom de Strip advertised the exhibition for free;
  • Plymouth University is advertising the exhibition for free during the International Book Festival;
  • the Lenkiewicz Foundation agreed to lend another piece of work because the initial requested piece could not be found by the lender;
  • Lucy Stein’s gallery Gimpel Fil, London agreed to lend a Lanyon painting;
  • The Elephant Trust gave funding for Stein’s film piece;
  • Karst and the Museum (who have lent Cook painting) have been very helpful and supportive during the whole process.

Bayliss also discussed how he wanted the exhibition to be accessible to a wider audience and not just persons who are already involved in the arts.  As well as advertising in Nom de Strip, Bayliss has also placed an advert in the Western Morning News under the Arts and Antiques section – hoping to reach a larger audience.

However,  I personally feel that placing the advert in a specific arts section in the paper, is still limiting your audience.

Having said this, I think that using artists such as Cook and Lenkiewicz is a clever way of generating publicity within the South West community because these artists are already well-known – regardless of whether you are interested in the arts or not. I feel that by presenting Cook and Lenkiewicz’s work with lesser known artists, an audience who may have been initially attracted to seeing Cook or Lenkiewicz’s work only, would then be introduced to the work of other artists – possibly of whom they would not have considered or heard of previously – and this can only be a good thing.

Overall, Bayliss’ lecture was an excellent, educational and honest lecture about how he found the curating process, which left the audience with much to consider in terms of the artist as curator.

Article Review: ‘Artists and Curators as 
Authors – Competitors, Collaborators, or Team-workers?’

Richter, Dorothee (2013) Artists and Curators as 
Authors – Competitors,  Collaborators, or Team-workers? [online]. Zürich: ONCURATING.org. Available at: http://www.oncurating-journal.org/index.php/issue-19-reader/artists-and-curators-as-authors-competitors-collaborators-or-team-workers.html(accessed on 13/10/13)

In this article Richter discusses the hierachy between curator and artist and gives examples of swiss curator Harald Szeemann, the Fluxus artist group and the Curating Degree Zero Archive.

The first example discusses a photograph of Szeemann, taken from the Documenta 5 (1972) exhibition.  This exhibition was a first in terms of curator authorship, with Szeeman independently organising Documenta 5, selecting the artists and choosing the theme.

In the photograph, Szeeman takes centre stage with the artists surrounding him.  Richter compares this image with religious and ancient greek paintings where there is a central figure e.g. Christ, with his apostles either side of him.  The arrangement of the figures highlights the power of the central figure and sense of submission of the persons around them.  The viewers of these images, Richter suggests, are in a lower ranking position again because they are merely spectators and not part of the group in the image.

Similarly, this hierachy is evident in the Documenta 5 photograph with Szeeman – the curator taking on the Christ-like role, the artists play his dutiful subjects and the viewer becomes the outsider – looking in.  In this instance the power of the curator has been elevated above the artists.

Baltasar Burkhard, Harald Szeemann, portrayed on 8th October 1972, the last day of Documenta 5, black-and-white photograph
Baltasar Burkhard, Harald Szeemann, portrayed on 8th October 1972, the last day of Documenta 5, black-and-white photograph

However, Richter notes some criticism from two artists of the exhibition Robert Smithson and Daniel Buren.  Smithson states that ‘the curator limits the exhibition’ and suggests the gallery becomes a ‘prison’ for artwork –  ‘cut off from the outside world’.  Buren states that ‘the exhibition is tending increasingly towards the exhibition of the exhibition as a work of art and no longer as an exhibition of works of art’.

Documenta 5 is in stark contrast to Documenta 1, 1955 where the post-war exhibition presented artists as the ‘new heroes’ – displaying portraits of the artists on the entrance hall walls.  However, the artist’s image gradually depleted over the following Documenta exhibitions – moving from wall to catalogue to non-existent.

Ten years prior to Documenta 5, artist groups were forming – including Fluxus.  Fluxus, was an avant-garde artist group of the 1960s which challenged ideas of traditional and commercial art and looked to involve the audience.  They were known for organising their own exhibitions and publications, however although they appeared to have a ‘spontaneuos’ nature, founding member George Maciunas organised many of the events behind the scenes and even coined the term ‘Fluxus’.  With this in mind Maciunas could be comparable to a curator – much like Szeemann – he arranged exhibitions, and by using the word ‘Fluxus’ – he presented a number of artists under one umbrella name, much as a curator would with the title of an exhibition.  Again, a hierachy is evident – although perhaps not as clear as the Szeemann example, however, both try to allude to the idea of the freedom of the artist.

Richter goes on to discuss Curating Degree Zero Archive which was first initiated by herself and Barnaby Drabble in 2003.  The Archive and ‘touring exhibition’, sets out to break down the hierachy between curator, artist and audience and endeavours to create an ‘open narrative structure’.  This is achieved by allowing the contents of the archive (‘provided by the participating curators’) to change and evolve according to the conversations had with various art institutions they attend across the world.  This includes discussions with artists, curators, designers, local audiences and theorists.  Although, differences of opinion may occur – ‘contradictions [are] preserved’ as they allow for further questioning and the ‘possibility [of gaining more] knowledge and insight’.

In the instance of CDZA the power-struggle between curator and artist has significantly diminished, by allowing the authorship to not simply be the responsibility of one sole individual but letting each have their say, on a level playing field.

Nadia Thondrayen, Gallery & Exhibitions Co-ordinator of Peninsula Arts Gallery 10/10/2013

During our college visit to Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University Nadia Thondrayen described the process of curating at the gallery.

She starting by explaining that proposals for potential exhibitions were put forward to the advisory board of the University and that four shows as well as the degree and MA shows were exhibited each year at the Peninsula Gallery.  At present, the programme is booked up until March 2015, which highlights the degree of forward planning which goes into organising an exhibition.

Nadia also explained that the gallery was not indemnified – which basically means that they do not have sufficient security and standards to display highly valuable art or works by extremely well known artists i.e. of a higher status in the artworld.  Therefore, the gallery is limited is what it can display, however it can exhibit very current contemporary work of emerging artists but not necessarily historic contemporary work.

There are many different logistics to consider when dealing with artwork – particularly work from overseas including insurance, delivery and timescale etc.  Furthermore, Nadia’s experience in conservation and preservation (from working in a museum environment previously) has proven invaluable because she knows how to handle the work and understands the importance of how differing environmental conditions can affect the work i.e. temperature, humidity and lighting etc.  By showing this degree of respect and devotion to caring for the artwork, curators gain the trust of the artists and show that they value the artist and their work.

Nadia also explained various processes in which to keep track of the environmental conditions including an electronic graph which records the humidity of the gallery.  This is a helpful device because for example  if there was a forthcoming exhibition which had specific environmental requirements, the graph could be checked from the prior year over the same period of months to give an idea of what the humidity conditions were like.

With the Peninsula Gallery, there is an issue with the large glass windows at the front of gallery which are not fully UV protected and filtered against damaging rays.  However, the artists are always made aware of this and can decide whether they are happy to have their work exhibited in close proximity to the windows or not.  Nadia also explained that she works out how much sunlight exposure the pieces may potentially be exposed to and advises the artist of such (e.g. in James Smith instance, work was placed in front of the windows which he was agreeable to).

Example of sun exposure at Peninsula Arts, Plymouth to James Smith’s Temporal Dislocation, 2011

The current exhibition called Document was the first slot Nadia had fill when she arrived at Peninsula Arts.  Although she is interested in European art, she particularly enjoys going further afield and has travelled to Asia and Australia.  It was in Singapore where she first came into contact with one of the artists of the Document exhibition Vandy Rattana.

Rattana’s work Bomb Ponds, 2009 documents the bomb ponds of Cambodia, created by the USA’s B52s during the Vietnam War.  The pieces include photographs of the ponds and a video of the testimonies of the people affected.

Image of Vandy Rattana’s Bomb Ponds, 2009 at Peninsula Arts, Plymouth

Nadia explained how this documenting of contemporary history had made an impact on her and felt it would be refreshing to bring this overseas work to a UK gallery.  However, the logistics of getting the work to Plymouth were challenging.  Rattana was exhibiting at the Guiggenheim in New York at the time of contact and new prints had to be made at the expense of the Peninsula.  However, the prints had to be printed in New York so that Rattana could check that the colours etc were right and then these had to be sent to Plymouth.  Although the Peninsula paid for the prints, they are still the property of the artist, however in this instance the artist was not paid a fee.

Another artist from the Document exhibition who Nadia had previous contact with when she worked at the Hayward Gallery was James Smith.  Smith’s work Temporal Dislocation, 2011 is of the new-brutalist genre – documenting a form of architectural art – predominantly large, angular concrete constructions resonating in politically dominant environments.

Smith’s photographic landscape images, like most gallery pieces were given gallery tags.  However, at the artist’s request they do not give the specific location of the photograph because Smith wished the works to be seen as a whole that the landscapes could be of anywhere in Britain and not necessarily one specific place.

The third artist in the exhibition is The Atlas Group – a fictional group born from the imagination of Walid Raad.  The work entitled We Can Make Rain But No One Came To Ask, 2005, documents the Lebanese Civil War.  However, much like the Atlas Group, the archive of footage and documentation presented in a video piece is a result of Raad’s imagination – a fictional record of an actual occurrence.

Although the three pieces have never been exhibited together, the fluidity of the exhibition is evident – with each artist’s use of documenting and archiving different environments.  The works fit well together and there is a natural flow between pieces with no obvious change in dynamic.

However, there were a few small distractions for the viewer in terms of the curation of the work.  In The Atlas Group’s work, the video was screened in a boxed off, blacked out room with a black curtain placed in the entrance.  On entering the room, because the viewer immediately entered the space from the curtained doorway, a stream of light was evident every time the curtain was opened.  The light shining through could have perhaps been limited by creating an L-shaped small corridor at the entrance of the room or having two curtained entrances in succession.

This was further highlighted to myself the following Saturday (12 October 2013) during my internship at the Peninsula Arts, when a member of the public asked me when the exhibition would be finished – as in finish being installed.  He felt the installation of The Atlas Group’s piece was “shoddy” because of the curtained entrance allowing light into the room.

Also, the speaker equipment etc was obvious because of the green and red power lights which also created a distraction to the viewer and gave the impression of an unpolished piece.

Image of The Atlas Group’s We Can Make Rain But No One Came To Ask, 2005, demonstrating the distracting power lights

I personally enjoyed the exhibition and although I noticed some elements which perhaps could have been presented better, I feel that the gentleman who commented on the exhibition’s curation was a little harsh and patronising in his criticism.  However, if this affected his experience of the exhibition, then as an audience member, his point is valid and should be considered.