17 Chelsea MA students (12 MA Fine Art, 5 MA Curating & Collections) enter into a week-long cooperative exhibition in which the curators, who see the show for the first time mid-week, will reconsider curation and transform the space. The project is an experiment which aims to “…challenge the ‘occupancy’ inside the regimented frameworks” such as may be found in the academic or gallery setting. From 7-10 April 2015 at Chelsea College of Arts.
Re-examining the relation between artist and curator
The basis of Housed: was about the relation (some might say “hierarchy”?) between artist and curator, firstly in a gallery/exhibition setting, secondly in academia. In the first half of the week, the dozen artists installed the show, collaboratively of course, installing their work with consideration for the siting as well as “conversations” between the nearby pieces.
My proposed work, ‘memoirs of a stone (Part I – The flight from Hyrcania)’ was an installation of drawings on paper, a short looping film with sound, and several found objects, most importantly, a small piece of red shale about 1 cm big.
In the first part of week, a writing desk was situated in the doorway, a small intimate space which may inspire quiet reflection as the viewer may pause and read or handle the drawings. Further along in the exhibition in the next room, one might come across the small red stone on a black velvet jewel block, positioned on the floor.
Mid-way through the week, the curators came into the project with a fresh perspective to re-hang the work, possibly creating new conversations and altering the “flow” of the exhibition overall.
‘Memoirs of a stone’ was relocated to another room entirely, which somehow “opened up” the work in a positive way. The little stone, placed next to Paul Abbott’s work (the video/busts on plinths – left image) somehow crystallised for both works the reference to Greco-Roman era, with busts on plinths and the Roman-era mosaic tile. Then the writing desk, even though in a more open space, still allowed for intimacy placed in the corner, adjacent to a large airy window.
For many of the artists, the re-curation improved the flow and openness for the exhibition overall, and opened up each work to have more “breathing space”, a marked positive change. If nothing else, the project allowed for a different way to see and experience the works in this very successful week.
Read more about Housed:
- ‘Housed’ exhibition explores new partnership between artist and curator – kelise72.com – 26 March 2015
- Housed: Chelsea Cookhouse – myblog.arts.ac.uk – official project blog