Saturday, 25 February 2012

Making Space

Our tutor at Morley arranges one off-site trip during the course. This year's was to a very thought-provoking exhibition at the Slade Research Centre, to see an exhibition curated by a PhD student, who is a friend of one of the course participants.

Making Space image

The pieces in the exhibition are either by PhD students at the Slade, tutors at the Slade or artists who the curator admires. Several of the pieces were made in situ, as the exhibition was installed. We were given a guided tour by the curator, which was very necessary for me, as there was little information about the pieces available in the exhibition. A integral part of the exhibition is an installation of earpieces playing interviews of the 27 artists by the curator. Each of these can be listened to individually.

I was struck by: the photographs of Gina Glover; the folded photographs by Dryden Goodwin; Lisa Milroy; Eleanor Morgan; Susan Dergescamera less photography ( not an easy website to navigate, but beautiful images in the gallery once you find your way there); Fiona Curran, with this linked image reinterpreted in needlepoint and in patchwork;Simon Faithfull.

I loved the huge piece by Elly Thomas and wanted to throw myself in to the pile of sculptured shapes, as the person in the accompanying video was doing. It didn't feel as if this was permitted, so unlike the full tactile experience of the Ernesto Netto pieces from a couple of years ago, something was missing.

We then sat as a group and had a lively discussion about the delineations between art,craft and design; why is it acceptable for an "art" piece to be badly crafted; is the immediate response to a piece of art a more honest reaction than the secondary response after finding out more about the context, the method or the biography of the artist?; how much information is needed to accompany a piece of art to allow interpretation of a piece; does art have to be about something?; why can't beautiful, functional items be considered as art?

The exhibition ends today, and I would really like to have gone again, particularly as I've now had time to find out more about the artists who are exhibiting. As several of them were exhibiting pieces in media that were not their usual method of working, this definitely adds another dimension to understanding what we were looking at. I knew that by going to Morley I would meet lots of talented and skilled individuals, but I did not imagine that my art horizons would be broadened to this extent, what a treat.

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