Tag Archives: Hayward

Open Call Artist Research: Naoko Ito

During my artist research into landscape, preservation and nostalgia I came across Tokyo born, New York based artist Naoko Ito and her pieces which were included in an exhibition at CAM Raleigh, New York in 2011 called Urban Nature.  In this work Ito explored the themes of how nature is presented in urban areas, how a society with limited access to the wild view nature and how they find ways of preserving or containing it within an urban environment.

In some of the works Ito has stacked up glass jars which contain and “preserve (…) segmented tree branches” on a concrete floor – juxtaposing manmade and natural objects.

Naoko Ito, 2009, Ubiquitous, Image available at: http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2011ito/itoubiquitous_w2-2/
Naoko Ito, 2009, Ubiquitous, Image available at: http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2011ito/itoubiquitous_w2-2/

In KV265, 2009 a video of green imagery and the sound of Ito playing Mozart’s twelve variations of Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman on the piano, is projected behind the stacked glass jarred piece Plight.

Naoko Ito, Plight, 2011 & KV265, 2009, Image available at: http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2011ito/itoplight_w2/
Naoko Ito, Plight, 2011 &
KV265, 2009, Image available at: http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2011ito/itoplight_w2/

The melody could perhaps seem familiar to the viewer as it sounds like childhood nursery rhymes and heightens a sense of “nostalgia” (CAM Raleigh, 2011).  The Gallery states that:

Ito considers this work to be a “treatment for winter depression;” filled with lovely scenes of green projected through jars, their final images distorted and dreamlike (…)  the dialogue between [both] works speak of summer and winter, growth and decline, joy and sadness (Ibid).

I felt really drawn to these pieces, particularly as the Hayward Curatorial Open Call Exhibition is touring to quite urban environments including Newcastle and Liverpool.  The idea of the viewer re-considering their landscape and presenting a sense of nostalgia as well as preservation appealed to me and my concept.  Similarly to Abigail Reynolds, the pieces create a sense of importance to society’s environment – something that one may take for granted.


CAM Raleigh (2011) Naoko Ito: Urban Nature (online) New York: CAM Raleigh. Available at: http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2011ito/ (accessed on 21/02/2014)

Art/Artist Ideas for Open Call

I started to think about the type of artwork I would like to see in my exhibition proposal for Hayward Touring.

As mentioned in my previous post, I wish to base my concept on the idea of the sacred and a contemporary take on hierotopy – the creation of sacred places and the importance of the object in making places sacred.

I decided to research into art that could be considered to have transcendent or sublime qualities.  I am also interested in finding pieces which refer to preservation – to correspond to the idea of the preservation of ancient relics and what one values as significant.  Furthermore, I would also like to include work which could evoke a subconscious or conscious recognition and familiarity within the audience – pieces akin to the profundity of ancient iconography.

My initial thoughts led me to Abstract Expressionism’s concerns with the sublime and spiritual.  I also thought about Kazimir Malevich’s, Black Square, 1915 and its display at 0.10: The Last Futurist Exhibition, where its placement in the corner gave a sense of the all seeing eye.

Kazimir Malevich’s, Black Square, 1915 and its display at 0.10: The Last Futurist Exhibition. Image available at Elders, Z. (2013) 0,10 Exhibition [online]. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum. Available at: http://journal.stedelijk.nl/en
However, I feel that these movements and pieces would be too obvious with regard to the sacred or transcendence and would not present an original exhibition concept.

Therefore, I decided to research into more contemporary artists’ work who have been active over the last 10-20yrs.  Also, as I am a student at the start of my curatorial journey, it would be difficult to successfully gain access to these high-profile pieces.  Having said this, I feel that a curator is in a position where they can bring new, lesser known but more innovative art to an audience and in doing so, also show their support for emerging artists.


Elders, Z. (2013) 0,10 Exhibition [online]. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum. Available at: http://journal.stedelijk.nl/en

Gallery Spaces – correspondence

I decided to contact the Southbank Centre with regard to the Hayward Touring Curatorial Call, with a view to obtaining some further information about the gallery spaces involved:

Main body of text sent to Hayward Touring
Main body of text sent to Hayward Touring

I received an email the next day, advising me that they were unable to pass on information about the touring venues but suggested I contact each gallery involved instead.  They did however, give me a link to the Bluecoat’s panoramic page of the gallery spaces, although I am unsure as to whether every gallery space at the Bluecoat will be involved in this exhibition: http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/panoramics/show/panoramics

I contacted each gallery direct and have so far received a message back from The Bluecoat with floorplans of the galleries. I am yet to hear from the BALTIC and Norwich University of Arts.  However, i did find out from the Hayward Curatorial Team that the fourth gallery involved in the exhibition is The Site Gallery in Sheffield, http://www.sitegallery.org/.

Concept: Hierotopy

During my research online into sacred places, I came across the word “Hierotopy”.

Hierotopy is a concept relating to the creation of sacred spaces and concerns human creative activity, particularly in historical terms.  The term and concept was invented in 2001 by Alexei Lidov, a Russian art historian and Director of Research at the Institute for World Culture at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

In Lidov’s 2006 paper Hierotopy: The Creation of Sacred Spaces as a form of Creativity and Subject of Cultural HistoryLidov explains the definition:

The term ‘hierotopy’ (ierotopia) consists of two Greek roots: hieros (sacred) and topos (place, space, notion) (Lidov, 2006, online)

He goes on to explain how hierotopy differs from hierophany:

hierophany [is the] direct manifestation of the sacred and hierotopy [is the] creation of the sacred space by human hands to commemorate a specific hierophany (Lidov, 2006, online)

Lidov discusses how man-made objects i.e. relics, idols and/or iconography, as well as rituals and prayer play an important role in the creation of a sacred place.

Although Lidov’s concept is in a historical and religious context, I decided this would be a perfect starting point for my proposal.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I liked the idea of having a touring sacred place which a wider audience could visit, as opposed to people traveling to a distance, unmovable sacred wonder.

I would not be focusing on religious ideas, as I feel people are perhaps becoming a little apathetic to religion and looking for something more.  This has come across during my dissertation research whilst looking into spirituality.  In the book Refiguring the Spiritual, Beuys, Barney, Turrell, Goldsworthy, 2012 author Mark Taylor a philosopher of religion highlights the change of attitude toward religion in today’s society, writing:

There has been a global resurgence of conservative religion throughout the world that all too often has resulted in growing intolerance and even violence.  This unexpected turn of events has led to an understandable reaction against religion in all of its manifestations.

But something else is also going on as well.  Although traditional forms of religious belief and practice have been subjected to trenchant criticisms, alternative forms of spirituality are thriving.  Many people who are committed to no organized religion willingly identify themselves as spiritual (Taylor, 2012, p13).

Therefore, I will be looking at contemporary art that has a spiritual resonance as well as blurring the lines between the ideas of the historical sacred place, man’s need to create and what one defines as sacred.


Lidov, A. (2006) Hierotopy: The Creation of Sacred Spaces as a form of Creativity and Subject of Cultural History [online]. San Francisco: Academia.edu 2014. Available from: https://www.academia.edu/2759215/Hierotopy._The_creation_of_sacred_spaces_as_a_form_of_creativity_and_subject_of_cultural_history

Taylor, M. (2012) Refiguring the Spiritual – Beuys, Barney, Turrell, Goldsworthy. New York: Columbia University Press


Open Call Ideas: Sacred Spaces

Following a class discussion led my tutor regarding our initial search for suitable curatorial open calls, I decided that I would respond to the Hayward Touring Curatorial Open Call 2014.  Although the deadline for submissions had already closed, I felt this would be a good example to develop an idea, with a view to submitting proposals in future years.

This call is open to anyone who has an interesting and imaginative idea to propose for an exhibition and therefore not limited to just professional curators.  However, it does state on the guidelines that “Applicants must be at least one year out of college or equivalent”.  After consulting with my tutor Edith Doove, it was confirmed that I could go ahead with this proposal for my assignment because it was a “dead call” and therefore I would not be officially applying during my final year of studies anyway.

The Hayward Touring Curatorial Open takes place across the UK, touring to Liverpool’s Bluecoat Gallery, Newcastle’s BALTIC, Norwich University of Arts Gallery and another yet to be disclosed venue.

I feel this is an excellent opportunity for artists to showcase their work in several gallery spaces and cities around the country.  Furthermore, the touring element of the exhibition allows for a wider audience to view the work.

Following my decision to create a proposal for the Hayward Touring Curatorial Open, I considered what my concept could be as the open call specified no set theme.

During my CURA302 project when I had looked into ritual and spirituality, I had watched the BBC series Sacred Wonders of Britain, 2013 presented by Archeologist and historian Neil Oliver.

In the first episode looked at Paleolithic  and Neolithic sacred grounds in Britain.

Oliver discusses how the rituals and beliefs of our ancestors suggest that they were concerned with how the world worked around them and how they discovered their place within it, by connecting to the landscape around them.  Throughout the program Oliver gives several examples of sacred grounds including:

  • Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire – where engravings of animals have been etched into the rock by paleolithic hunter gatherers, suggesting magical, spiritual or religious activities;
  • Ancient Neolithic burial tombs in the south of England and Scottish Borders show how the people began to landscape Britain with monuments – the large upturned stones may suggest the dead spirits bodies or act as reminders of the founding generations of the area – elevating them to the position of deities;
  • Flint mines of Grimes Graves, Norfolk – suggesting that the neolithic people may have carried out rites of passage and rebirth initiations;
  • The stone circle and henge of Avebury, Wiltshire – seemingly ceremonial areas;
  • Orkney’s monuments.

Part of the stone circle at Avebury.  Image available from: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/avebury/history-and-research/

Part of the stone circle at Avebury. Image available from: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/avebury/history-and-research/

Oliver highlights how these areas have become pilgrimages – even for people today who travel for many reasons to see the sacred places across Britain.

While walking through the upturned parallel sarsen stones of Avebury ,Oliver questions Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust Archeologist as to what present day man can gain from  these places.  Snashall responds by highlighting that any form of architecture was very new in neolithic times.  The modern day visitor can sense how the physicality of the stones affects how they see, hear and feel about how the ancient people would have felt while putting these stones up – the effort involved and the journey paved out by the stones (BBC2 (30/12/13) Sacred Wonders of Britain, Episode 1)

 With this in mind, I started to think about proposing an exhibition based around the idea of sacred grounds or objects.  As mentioned above, people from across the world can travel miles to visit sacred places for many reasons including spiritual, religious or meditative experiences.
I decided that as the open call was for a touring exhibition, it would be an interesting prospect to create a touring “sacred” experience i.e. instead of people traveling to a sacred place, the sacred place would come to the people.
I do not wish to create a religious experience and base the exhibition on religious iconography etc.  Rather, I would wish to include objects which I would describe as contemporary art “relics”.  These would be artworks which suggest spiritual or awe-inspiring thoughts and feelings within the viewer – or at least pieces that have had some resonance or profundity for myself.
BBC2 (30/12/13) Sacred Wonders of Britain, Episode 1.

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