At the start of the summer, myself, Annie Fenton and Will Treasure (maker), and Jasper Smith (ceramics), decided we wanted to do a group exhibition for Made in Roath. The main motivations were 1), an opportunity to show our 2nd year work to a wider audience (after all of the effort) and 2) a chance to exhibit before the degree show.
The summer process was a lot of ADMIN and I HATE ADMIN with a burning passion. But it was useful experience – I got a chance to redo my cv (much needed) and prepare an official proposal for the first time. It was also rewarding to see all of the exhibitions I’ve shown in over the past year together on a page. We proposed a group show, inspired by the Windswept Baby exhibition by Bethan Lloyd Worthington I saw over the summer. In the exhibition, she invited writers to choose a piece from the V&A’s collection and respond to it through text. She then in turn responded to both the original piece and the text in the creation of another artwork. I felt like that with the pieces the others wanted to show, mine didn’t fit curatorially with them. So inspired by Windswept Baby, we proposed a show where I would respond to each of their pieces with a sound piece.
We got in but the space they offered us wasn’t really suitable and we couldn’t find an alternative in the remaining time. We were joking about doing an open car instead of an open house, and then realised: open van! I’ve been wanted to play with unconventional spaces for curation, and it seemed to solve our problems. And thus Vantage point was born. (VANtage point, it’s a van pun).
The whole exhibition process was challenging, in that we had so much else to do for 3rd year. Will made a cracking series of posters, playing with perception in the mirrors – that really made me think about how the run up to the exhibition can still be creative, and if you do interesting things in that stage then people are already interested from that.
I had issues with my pieces for the van. I decided to only make one piece in response to Annie’s weave, as I thought I could best enhance the features and materiality of it. I wanted it to be a spoken word sound piece, with recordings of the weave being woven in the background. This didn’t happen however, because my MP3’s that I had lent out were not returned to me in the state I had hoped. So it ended up being a text piece alone on a handout. This was kind of disappointing, but it was still received well. People said it helped them engage with the work on a much deeper level, which is what I wanted. It supports ideas I’m writing about in my diss too – on non visual histories of objects and ideas of curation and connection.
This exhibition has led to several things. Firstly I’ve submitted my piece and Annie’s to the Sammelwerk online zine. I’ve been thinking more since on art writing and journalism, and I want to explore that further. Writing is something I enjoy, and are arguably ok at, so I should exploit that. I also think I do want to exhibit still etc, but I want to leave it a bit. I need more time to develop what I’ve learnt and thought recently to create a new body of work and ideas.
weave – my text piece.