Exhibition As Medium 2011-2012

GROUP SHOW / SOLO SHOW (ROBERT BARRY)

Valentinas Klimašauskas, Raimundas Malašauskas, Jonathan Monk, Museum of American Art, Paul O'Neill

Preview: 26 August 6.30 - 9pm
Open 26 August - 18 September 2011, 12-6pm Sat - Sun
(Or by appointment)

An exhibition centred on the work of conceptual artist Robert Barry. A reinvention of the solo show. Re-workings and re-interpretations of Barry's work will be presented in the only exhibition in the Exhibition As Medium programme that will remain in a static form. A focus here lies more in what a solo show can constitute, in this case focusing on artists and thinkers who have utilised Barry's ideas in order to create new work or re-imagine original works.

This curatorial premise of re-thinking the solo show abolishes the ongoing contentious issue of whether (ordinary) solo shows can ultimately be curated. Through the original curatorial premise, and the process of selecting artists and works, this is much more an experiment in curatorial practice than an invited and 'organised' solo exhibition.

Barry, more than any other artist, lends himself to this kind of reworking of the solo exhibition. Through his early works in the 1960's, he recognised the importance and playfulness of authorship, often claiming where, or how artworks could be experienced, rather than physically showing something. Red Square (1967), a single small canvas, includes the specification that it be installed 'at the centre of the wall'. 

Other paintings from the same period were sent with instructions on where they should be hung in a particular space, 'the background wall in both cases becoming thematically accommodated within the totality of the work.' His Telepathic Piece (1969), leaves nothing more than the artist's intention of how the work will exist, and probably his most well-known work Closed Gallery series (1969), in which was written on the invitation card for an upcoming exhibition, 'During the exhibition the gallery will be closed', he 'shrewdly and clearly played on art's conditions' , leaving nothing but an empty gallery, maintaining complete control over (the non-existent) exhibited product.

Through not showing any Robert Barry works in a Robert Barry solo show, authorship and control, the things so avidly investigated and so articulated expressed originally by Barry, pass back onto the curator. The curator pretends to be the solo artist, alongside the group of participating artists pretending to be the solo artist. The solo artist is still the solo artist.

The Woodmill - (IN THE DAYS OF THE) ROID

Friday 5 August, 2011.  8pm

For the final part of Solo Show / Group Show, The Woodmill (Alastair Frazer, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides) present a new play / performance in three parts. 'Roid' is a tragi-com about transformation, epoch, dark psychedelia, death and absurdity. Through a series of monologues, scenarios and prop-based actions this inter-personal edit merges experienced moments and historical events to explore personal dialogue, an idea of coming-of-age, and the 'wrong' psychedelics of Charles Manson.

Feel free to join us from 7pm for a few drinks before the event.

Nearest train - Margate rail from Victoria, St. Pancras and Stratford International. Last trains back to London: 21:53 to St.Pancras 22:16 to Victoria

woodmill.org

SOLO SHOW/GROUP SHOW

Noel Clueit, Bob Levene, David Martin, Dan Meththananda, Woodmill (Alastair Frazer, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides)

Open: 15 July - 8 August 2011, 12-6pm Friday - Sunday (and whenever an artist is working in the gallery)

A group exhibition presented as a series of cumulative solo exhibitions.

Each artist produces and presents new work in the gallery space at different times during the exhibition, choosing either to use or disregard what has gone before. For the curator, importance is shifted from spatial or thematic concerns towards the exhibition's time frame.

For the artist, this format of group exhibition instigates and supports a much more active decision-making role than usual, asking them to respond physically to others' work in the space, so shifting elements of curatorial (spatial, aesthetic and thematic) control over to the artists. The curator's role becomes insignificant other than setting the initial parameters, passing all control of exhibited product back to the artist. The artist takes on the gallery as a temporary workplace akin to that of a studio, in which they find things already, which they must work with in some way. They do not bring along pre-made works ready to hang on the white walls or place on the floor - instead they become an ongoing work themselves in the space in amongst the visiting public. 

About the artists:

Noel Clueit is based in Manchester, UK. Sampling ready-made or reproduced objects, Clueit utilises shop bought objects, photocopied areas of art history books and appropriated record sleeves - commercial objects that riff between post-painterly abstraction and the purely decorative - altered in order to show their dumbed down 'modernish' appeal. Recent work explores authorship, reproduction and the relationship between reference material and the representation of objects. These materials are sourced in order to explore our unaware attachment to icons, compositions and the shifts of value and taste within contemporary culture. Recent exhibitions include: Burlington Fine Arts Club, Piccadilly Place, Manchester; We Are All In This Together, Bureau, Manchester; Painting Show, Supercollider, Blackpool; DEADPAN, Royal Standard, Liverpool; Legacy 1, Forman's Sculpture Yard / LIU Gallery, London; From This Filthy Sewer Pure Gold Flows, Rogue Project Space, Manchester, A Curriculum, A Foundation, Liverpool; Supercollider Embassy, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; Sunflowers Satellite Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne. 

Bob Levene, based in Sheffield, UK, “is an artist who embraces the conclusive, ongoing and unpredictable. Her work resounds with a poetic sensibility that defies categorisation, but with a focus on the nature of perception and sound. Adopting pseudo scientific strategies and anthropological methods of recording to analyse the 'nature' of things, she investigates time, distance and communication. In her efforts with limited resources and limited tools, she uncovers with wit and guilefree sincerity a finely balanced poetics of perception that takes us beyond the 'truth' of things into the realm of the absurd” Roger McKinley, Corridor8 Magazine, 2009

David Martin is currently based in Bristol, UK. After graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2004, he has exhibited in the UK, Spain, Scotland and Germany. Recent projects include We Are All in It Together (Bureau, Manchester), Rascals in Paradise (WSM) and Smokescreen (Galerie Art Report and Weltraum Project Space, Munich). David is a Co-Director of Exocet, an arts organisation which focuses its activity outside traditional art venues, and an independent curator, currently organising an exchange project between Cork and Bristol. 

Dan Meththananda was born in Margate in 1985 and currently lives and works in Paris. He studied mathematics at University College London, social sciences at Columbia University and worked in media research for a major American television network before attempting to become an artist in a French business school, HEC, in 2009. He has brown eyes.

The Woodmill was formed in 2009 by a group of artists and curators to establish a dynamic environment for exhibitions and events combined with experimental and communal artists' production space.

nfclueit.com
boblevene.co.uk
dmartin.org.uk
woodmill.org

Solo Show/Group Show - Essay

People first

One shudders at the thought of increasingly 'professional' artists, curators, directors, critics, etc' whose schooling is aimed at producing prescribed museum quality final exhibitions, performances, exquisitely professionalised displays of cultural resistance, perfectly honed critically positioned texts which are publication worthy. One shudders not because this is dull, though it certainly is that, but because the idea of being able to foresee the expected outcome of an investigative process, is completely alien to the very notion of what [art] is about.”1

Artists are people first - let us destroy the (Kantian) notion of the 'artist as genius' locked away in a separate world of myth and fantasy (more often than not their studio). For over fifty years now, artistic practice has shifted far away from this notion insofar as practice could easily replaced with the word living. Through the happenings and situations originating in the sixties through Allan Kaprow and fluxus, through to today's (quotidian) relational artists of which there are too many to name, artists have and are working with everyday realities far outside the concerns of narrow artistic trends and styles. How different really is On Kawara's I AM STILL ALIVE series made where the artist sent these telegrams to his friends throughout the seventies, to the regular 'updates' we currently post on Facebook and Twitter? “Today, more people are interested in image production than image contemplation.”2 Art and life = the same.

Artists are of course, people, yet through what Jurgen Habermas coined the 'bourgeois public sphere', of which the art-world is a component, we have created a few other preconceptions of what artists are. Through the galleries and museums that constitute the art-world, we have placed the artist on a pedestal as a great thinker or communicator of our times. In the world probably much closer to our actual realities, the artist is conversely known as a scrounger or lay-about, sponging off the state to do what they like to pass the time of day.

Both of these are untrue. Artists are the same as other people - they are interested in things. What makes them artists' is that they make things out of their interests. The problem with viewing the things they make (in Habermas' bourgeois public sphere) is that we rarely meet or speak with them.

Again to Habermas. In his text, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, he identifies that between the middle ages and the 18th Century, the public sphere was almost non-existent, due to the feudal system (of course). The King, or Lord, represented himself before the audience, making the King/Lord the only public person, all the others being (inactive) spectators.

He continues, and interestingly concludes that a ‘public sphere’ of opinion and voice, evolving through bourgeois reading groups in salons and coffee houses, to a ‘self-interpretation’ of the public sphere through the ideas of Kant, Marx and Hegel has been and gone, and what we are left with is that politicians, mass media and organisations (companies) represent themselves before the voters, in a similar structure to the King and the audience of the first instance.

Whether you go along or not with Habermas’ claims that we have gone full circle to a space where we have no (or little) public voice, in it there lays a striking resemblance to our experience of viewing art.

Replace ‘King’ or ‘Lord’ with ‘artist’ and/or ‘curator’, and keep audience as ‘audience’, and you have the current structure of how we interpret artworks. We visit an exhibition and are given a selection of artworks to contemplate and possibly interpret. Then we leave.

"Art institutions are indeed the in-between, the mediator, interlocutor, translator and meeting place between art production and the conception of its ‘public’’… ‘I would suggest that we take our point of departure in precisely the unhinging of stable categories and subject positions, in the interdisciplinary and the intermediary, the conflictual and dividing, in the fragmented and the permissive – in different spaces of experience, as it were. We should begin to think of this contradictory and non-unitary notion of a public sphere, and of the art institution as the embodiment of the this sphere."3

So what of a space where the audience witnesses an ongoing production of art, the artist and curator present as living people?

1. Irit Rogoff, Academy as Potentiality, A.C.A.D.E.M.Y (eds Angelika Nollert & Irit Rogoff) Revolver, 2006
2. Boris Groys, Going Public, Sternberg Press/ e-flux 2010
3. Simon Sheikh, Public Spheres and the Functions of Progressive Art Institutions, 2004. http://www.republicart.net/disc/institution/sheikh01_en.htm  

EXHIBITION AS MEDIUM - START SYMPOSIUM

START SYMPOSIUM

16 APRIL 2011

Toby Huddlestone Paul O'Neill Binna Choi Valentinas Klimasauskas Anthony Gross

As a starting point for the Exhibition as Medium programme curated by Toby Huddlestone speakers were invited to present ideas on alternate models of exhibition format, and to comment on a shift from the more traditional spatial 'static' show to something more active, temporal and engaging. Read more>>>>[b]A generalisation in order to trigger discussion...or...why artists should curate.[/b] Audio files of the presentations are available here>>>> Exhibition as Medium and the Start symposium are supported by KCC and Arts Council England.

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