Last Saturday night I was running an Oscars™ Warm-Up Night I had organised at JW3 London – the new Jewish Cultural Community and Arts Centre. For some time I had been planning an evening in celebration of the 86th Academy Awards and we decided that our pre awards event would take place the night before the awards ceremony itself. Here’s what the evening entailed:
JW3 is the place to be for the hottest warm up to the Oscars™! Not only will we be joined by a panel of film industry experts sharing their experiences of the Academy Awards™ and their predictions for awards winners, but we will have our own red carpet, cocktails and a real statuette! Dress in your finest award ceremony attire to create some of your own great photo opportunities. Producer and writer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Project Nim), director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Hyde Park On Hudson, Le Week-End) and film journalist and presenter Nicola Christie are on the panel chaired by film critic Jason Solomons. Simon Chinn will introduce a special screening of Searching for Sugar Man on the final night of its status as winner of the Academy Award™ for Best Documentary Feature. The perfect night out before your perfect night in for the 2014 Oscars™ live coverage the following evening.
I set about creating an event which would be one of the hottest warm ups to the Oscars in town! I knew it was important to establish a glam and glitzy atmosphere so the evening would feel special and would also build excitement with our audience and the press. Indeed Londonist website listed the night as the top event for their piece Sparkle And Fizz: Oscar Night Action In London and the Ham and High also included the event as one of their Top Five Things To Do In Hampstead and Highgate for that week.
So I worked with my colleagues to create a JW3 branded backdrop for a photo opp area with a red carpet so people could pose with the real Oscar statuette from two time Academy Award winning producer Simon Chinn. We arranged for a professional photographer to be there on the night to take photographs of people with the statuette, dressed in their best awards ceremony attire. Plus we dressed up the event hall where the panel talk was taking place so it would look special and we also made sure there was popcorn in the cafe – bar area of the centre with an award themed soundtrack and image slideshow playing as guests enjoyed cocktails and canapés.
I was pleased to be able to put together a great range of film industry names (including a film critic, film presenter and journalist, film director and film producer) for panel who spoke about their past experiences of the awards and their predictions for the winners of the awards the next night, which were all absolutely correct! It was an honour and pleasure to meet and host Jason Solomons, Simon Chinn, for a fun and glamorous evening which was enjoyed by all.
It was also a wonderful opportunity to get all dressed up which if you see my writing on this blog about costumes and characters, you’ll know that’s something I love to do! Included in this post are some pictures of the evening dress I wore the evening, that I hadn’t worn since I went to Glyndebourne opera festival!
For for information about my role working at JW3 running London’s newest independent cinema, see the previous blog post here.
Announcing DOWNTOWN – the second in the SYNESTHESIA series of visual arts exhibitions with live sounds, moving image and projections, curated by me – Kate Ross.
This exhibition brings together work from artists who explore the urban, particularly as realised by the idea of Downtown – the core of a city and its creative heart. However, the artwork in this show is further unified as it relates to an African and specifically Jamaican Downtown of Kingston. The artists whose work is shown in DOWNTOWN have been influenced by Jamaican music, the presence of Jamaican culture in London and its vibrant history which has been brought over from one urban hub to create another.
This exhibition brings together reproduced images of new collages created by Jenny Gordon, photographs and film stills by WhittyGordon Projects from their work in Downtown Kingston, Jamaica and a collection of material collated by Winstan Whitter including flyers, posters and photographs illustrating the story of The Four Aces Club, Dalston.
Artist Jenny Gordon has created new collages for DOWNTOWN which were inspired by sources including nature and found objects such as photographs. Gordon examines concepts of identity, isolation and alienation. Her practice asks questions about how we inhabit the world both physically and emotionally, by drawing upon her own experiences as a woman of mixed race origin. The resulting negotiations of cultural positioning form the foundation of her enquiry into the dislocations of personal identity and physical belonging. In making these collages, Gordon has enjoyed drawing on her personal memories of visiting the Notting Hill area as a child with her parents and she has also reflected on stories she has been told by them of their experiences of the area during the 1950s when Notting Hill was a hotbed of Jamaican culture.
Whitty Gordon Projects (artists Fiona Whitty & Jenny Gordon) have spent plenty of time exploring the vibrant and bustling urban area that is Downtown Kingston, Jamaica for the past three years. In Kingston, Downtown is the heart of the city where the action happens and creative activity is buzzing on the streets. Downtown is a melting pot of diverse communities – pouring out onto the pavements from dilapidated buildings and all walks of life are seen including carpenters, young artists, street hair dressers, barbers, musicians, nail technicians and street food merchants who artists Whitty and Gordon have met and filmed.
Printed stills taken from short films and photographs by Whitty Gordon Projects are being displayed in the exhibition DOWNTOWN to evoke something of the Jamaican urban hub that artists Fiona and Jenny experienced and are fascinated by. The gap between Downtown and Uptown is large in many terms and both artists have worked hard with local communities to bridge it through collaborative creative projects.
Film maker and Director of Photography Winstan Whitter started out making skateboarding films in the ‘90s and has since worked on short films, commercials, documentary feature films and music promos for artists including Echo & The Bunny men, Scissor Sisters, Lionel Ritchie and Paul McCartney. In 2008 Whitter shot “Legacy In The Dust: The Four Aces Story’’ which tells the story of one of the first Reggae-oriented music venues – ‘The Four Aces Club’. For some 33 years it was home to the most influential black music and musicians to date. DOWNTOWN exhibition at Notting Hill Arts Club is proud to display a number of printed reproduction images of Whitter’s ‘Four Aces Club’ screen-prints therefore linking shared histories of London nightclubs and Jamaican music.
The exhibition DOWNTOWN tells the story of DOWNTOWN through the eyes of the artists and curator with their joint enriching blend of Jamaican, British, Irish, Ghanaian and Jewish cultures.
Live on the Night – DOWNTOWN
Continuing with the SYNESTHESIA series theme of creating a multi sensory experience, as well as the visual arts exhibition, DOWNTOWN will also feature film, moving image, projections, live music and DJ sets.
A curated selection of short films will be shown on the night of 8th August by a range of artist film makers who respond to the theme of DOWNTOWN whether this is in the sense of urban subject matter or other connected identities. Whitty Gordon Projects will also screen a film they made after collecting material when undertaking In-Between Spaces, a film project based in Kingston Jamaica in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Conor O’ Grady
Leona Clinton & Mary Caffrey
Integral to the atmosphere of downtown Kingston, Jamaica are the sounds on the streets, produced by musicians and those who organise music nights in the area which artists Fiona Whitty & Jenny Gordon have done there themselves. So, DOWNTOWN exhibition too will be accompanied by music from DJs and bands inspired by Jamaican, African urban sounds.
WhittyGordon Projects are Fiona Whitty and Jenny Gordon. Fiona and Jenny met during their MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London in 2009. Fiona is Irish and Jenny is British/Jamaican. They received funding to undertake In-Between Spaces, a film project based in Kingston Jamaica in 2010, 2011 and 2012 when made several short films including Yabba Pot, Vincent and Downtown. They formed WhittyGordon Projects in 2011 and have participated in numerous shows in London, Ireland, Jamaica and are currently based in London.
Film maker and Director of Photography Winstan Whitter started out making skateboarding films in the ‘90s and has since worked on short films, commercials, documentary feature films and music promos for artists including Echo & The Bunny men, Scissor Sisters, Lionel Ritchie and Paul McCartney. Whitter also works as a mentor/facilitator on many film making workshops within the educational sector.
Whitty Gordon Projects http://whittygordonprojects.tumblr.com
Jenny Gordon http://jennygordon20.tumblr.com/
Winstan Whitter http://www.winstanwhitter.net/
Please join the Facebook event for the night by clicking here
The launch of the new visual arts & sound series I am curating for Notting Hill Arts Club was a real success with a great night of art, sounds and music at the Club enjoyed by over 100 people!
Nicky Carvell‘s ‘Naff Graphic‘ Decals suit the industrial space of the Club perfectly and you can see them on display until the end of July.
IKTA performed an excellent set with experimental layered sounds including pre recorded elements and live playing on saxophones, percussion and electronic beats. On the wall behind the stage, short films by IKTA members Victoria Trinder, Simon West, Zachary Apo-Tsang and Rosie Stewart fluttered in the background giving the performance area a more visually heightened atmosphere which worked well with the projections of Nicky Carvell’s specially designed En Visage logo.
Horseless Headmen then played their set with a range of instruments including the biggest saxophone I’ve ever seen, flute, bass guitar, guitar and a number of weird and wonderful percussive items including drums from Nick Cash. Finally, Half an Abortion – Pete Cann tested the limits of the Club’s sound system with his closing set.
Special thanks to all the artists involved, Neil the sound technician at the Club and Calum and Dom who I work with at the Club on the series.
I’m looking forward to SYNESTHESIA II which will happen in August with new visual artist, film makers, music and more!
SYNESTHESIA I – launching my new visual art & sound series at Notting Hill Arts Club, curated by Kate Ross – Curatorial CuriositiesPosted: May 21, 2013 | |
The new visual art and sound series that I am curating for Notting Hill Arts Club launches on the evening of Monday 3rd June with SYNESTHESIA I. I chose the name SYNESTHESIA for the series as it describes an experience that I have always been fascinated with, whether in connection to artist Wassily Kandinsky’s ‘music-painting’ or with regards to contemporary artists creating video art that stimulates simultaneous reactions to sight and sound. I also thought that the name SYNESTHESIA sounded like a club night which would work well for the venue – Notting Hill Arts Club. I think the name also stands out clearly and looks eye catching on the flyer that artist Nicky Carvell has designed for the night.
En Visage – Nicky Carvell
For SYNESTHESIA I Nicky Carvell has produced large-scale ‘Naff Graphic’ decals, mirroring the huge cut outs of musicians and sports people which still adorn the now stripped out interior of the Visage nightclub in Leisure World.
Sorry luv, you’re not dressed right.” Dismissed by the bouncer beneath the glare of the jaunty neon sign, Visage Nightclub was my teenage anathema,’ writes Carvell. ‘Having journeyed to Leisure World with my friends, I was not allowed in again despite the irony that I was the only one dressed in leisure wear, a rejection which embellished the notion of Visage as a glamorous otherworld that I would never experience – it is now due to be demolished.The title “En Visage” signals this sophistication onto a fantasy land that will remain just that. It is this artificial jazzy sign that still fascinates me; the dream overriding the grotty reality.
IKTA LIVE – Victoria Trinder & Collaborators
IKTA presents a session of experimental sound play, featuring Victoria Trinder and special instrumentalist guests. Working with traditional modes of composition in conjunction with and interactive sound objects that introduce an element of the unpredictable.
Victoria Trinder works in collaboration with other creatives operating within a multidisciplinary arena. She highlights and documents exchanges that take place through dialogue and activity, championing the symbiotic relationships that are embedded in our contemporary day-to-day society.
Trinder founded IKTA (I Keep Thinking About) an Internet Radio station that acts as a platform for emerging creative voices regardless of age, gender and cultural backgrounds. IKTA broadcasts experimental sound sessions that occur at headquarters in North London.
Victoria Trinder holds a BA in Fine Art and is currently studying for her MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. She has exhibited in the UK and internationally, recently being selected for feature at Pnem Sound Arts Festival, Holland. She holds a Post Graduate Teaching Certificate, obtained from Goldsmiths in 2008 and continues to work with adults and young people in and around London where she lives. www.victoriatrinder.com
Any band that can play ‘spontaneous soundscapes’ influenced by avant-rock, progressive dub, classical, latin and soul with some electro-industrial and psychedelic skronk have got to be great musicians, and that sure applies to GD Painting and Horseless Headmen, whose improvisations may feature ‘churning groove, soaring melody, glorious racket and epic abstraction.’ Fans of Can, Faust, King Crimson and Song X will like this too. www.facebook.com/HorselessHeads
HALF AN ABORTION
Half An Abortion is far more considered than the gonzo band name would have you expect: this is carefully-layered, properly physical noise, some of which could be lazily described as ‘harsh’. Yet it actually has a very engaging flow, a wry humour and a structure that invites the listener to climb all over it.
I am really excited about the first event in the series and invite you all to come and join in at Notting Hill Arts Club. Please join the Facebook event through this link.
I have some exciting news on my career development in curating… I am now curator for Notting Hill Arts Club which is a specialist pioneering music and arts venue. Here is what Notting Hill Arts Club say about themselves on their website:
Through conceptualising and cultivating niche, underground and genre defining nights, the artsclub has set the musical map of London. Alongside our serious graphic arts based exhibition programme, concept visuals, and extended area-shaping public arts projects, the artsclub is fundamentally explained in its belief that a world created by artists would be a better place.
What and How am I Curating at Notting Hill Arts Club?
I am very excited about this opportunity and I decided to create a new visual art and sound series for Notting Hill Arts Club which I am curating. This new programme reflects my curatorial curiosities, research and practice into new contemporary visual art work by emerging artists, sound art and the idea of the non-gallery space. The series is allowing me the profile artists whose work I think is cutting edge, interesting and different. I will curate exhibitions around every 2 months and the opening/ private views of these shows will have a whole night created around them with sound and performance artists who I have chosen because their work fits together with the style and ethos of the venue as well as complimenting the artwork to be displayed on the walls of the Club. The process of curating in this non-gallery space is interesting and challenging as the Club is in a basement area, so it is not well lit, therefore I am also choosing art work which is vibrant and will stand out well and is appropriate to the club environment. I am also having to consider the fact that the venue is not an art gallery, so people are using the space to socialise, watch live bands and have a good time so the work needs to be secure so damage is minimised and the work is protected yet can still be enjoyed and on view. For this first exhibition, the images are being printed on matt vinyl which is a resistant material that will stick to the well used club walls like a huge sticker.
The Idea of a Multi Purpose Arts Space
The Notting Hill Arts Club is the perfect type of venue which matches my interests and strong belief in the idea that the future for showing art work seems to more and more be the multi purpose space, meaning that a venue which artists and curators can work in, also has another strand of revenue in order to keep it going and secure its future. In the case of Notting Hill Arts Club, that’s the live music nights they put on and charge at the door for.
Online Presence and Publicity through Social Media Networks WORKS
I was actually approached by a staff member of the Notting Hill Arts Club team who had been researching artists and curators on the Internet, thanks to this blog where my work was viewed and it appealed to the person who contacted me. I’m a believer in the power of social media and free online publicity for creatives. Its working for me so far! Further to this, I have started a professional Facebook page to keep people updated on my work as a curator and you can join it by clicking here.
In my next post I’ll outline the first exhibition and event curated by me for Notting Hill Arts Club which will be happening soon.
SURFACE is the latest exhibition that I have curated, this time with Daisy McMullan who is my colleague at my workplace CHELSEA space . As part of my role this year as Chelsea Arts Club Trust Fellow (which you can read about here), Donald Smith – Director of Exhibitions at CHELSEA space informed my colleague and I that there was a gap in the exhibitions programme at our sister gallery Chelsea Futurespace and that we would have the opportunity of curating an exhibition there.
The Challenges & Limitations
Chelsea Futurespace is not a space which has the sole function of a gallery.
Chelsea Futurespace is an exemplary collaboration between Chelsea College of Art and Design, Futurecity arts consultancy, and the property developer, St James Urban Living, part of the Berkeley group. It provides a showcase exhibiting space for the alumni and staff of Chelsea College of Art and Design set within St James’ Grosvenor Waterside development at Chelsea Bridge. http://www.chelseafuturespace.org/about.html
So, there are some challenges involved in putting on an exhibition in such a space which is a foyer to a high end residential development where anything from furniture deliveries to dogs and children being walked traipse through, but these can also be looked on as positive opportunities. As mentioned above, Chelsea Futurespace was created as an exhibiting space to showcase specifically work from alumni and staff of Chelsea College of Art and Design, so as curators there was already a structure within which the artists selected would need to fit.
As Chelsea Futurespace is also a living space with the day to day function of being used as the foyer and reception to the whole residential developement, this means that the gallery is part of the residents’ home and many families and children come through the space on a daily basis. So the artwork displayed has to be unobjectionable to viewers and any material that could be seen as explicit or offensive in any way cannot be shown.
A practical point that had to be considered is that for exhibiting, the space consists of 4 two-sided walls, each 10ft square ie 8 walls each 10ft/306cm square. These white walls are moveable, but aesthetically and curatorially, navigation and narrative around the show would need to be succesfully achieved so there are only so many possible combinations for the walls which work well. As the space is used constantly for deliveries, as a shortcut and more, any artwork displayed in the space needs to be securely attached to the walls or safe and not pretruding in the way if not directly fastened to the walls.
The Artwork & Theme
So how did we as curators choose the exhibition theme, title, the artists and artworks? We decided that it would be easiest and most efficient to select a broad theme that would allow for a number of different media or artwork to be included into it. I was keen to avoid an exhibition which would only profile one media of artwork and from the start, as Chelsea Futurespace is bright and open, surrounded by large windows and water, I imagined the show to be colourful and rich in variation, interest and technique. The theme of surface allowed for artwork to be exhibited from painting, textiles, collage, drawing, print and objects, therefore crossing the boundaries between fine art, craft and design. I also felt that this range of artwork reflects the multiple areas of practice which are explored by students (and therefore alumni) of Chelsea College of Art & Design.
Two of the artists I was especially pleased to exhibit work by, were Charlotte Jonerheim, whose work I had admired at the MA Fine Art Chelsea College of Art & Design summer show last year and Brian Chalkley whose work I have written about here. I knew that Charlotte would be able to work successfully in adapting to the limitations of the space as described above and that she would create an installation that was site specific, also using objects from her personal artist’s history which is a method used by Charlotte in her practice. I was determined to have Charlotte’s work included in the show so that there would be objects in the exhibition and not just artworks fixed the wall. In the end, Charlotte used a shelf she had made and a plinth from CHELSEA space to display her work which was the highlight of the show for me, physically coming out of the wall space, yet the delicate nature of the objects were protected.
The work by Brian Chalkley that we decided to show, were his collages which are made using fashion magazine figures that have then been altered by the artist. I love these images which are striking, playful and also prompt us to think about what we see in magazines that is real and what is invented. This couture collage technique is clever and fun.
It was important to us that the branding for the exhibition was clear and consistent, since we also run CHELSEA space, the invitations, press release, mailout and list of works would stick to the Chelsea Futurespace style. We chose a font that was clear and that we liked the look of and each time the exhibition name SURFACE was written, we used the exhibition title font, so that the reader is not confused between the show title and the use of the word surface. Below you can see how the A5 black and white publication we produced matches the style of the invitation card. We chose one of the artworks from the exhibition by Kangwook Lee for the publication booklet cover as well as on the invitation card as it was decorative, detailed and it worked well with the text style.
Curating the SURFACE exhibition was an enjoyable opportunity, being able to pick and choose artists and work that was to our taste. However, it was also challenging due to working in a multi functioning space with its limitations. The exhibition has been well received and has now been extended until 28th April 2013.
Curating Young and Old Masters. Interview with Daisy McMullan – Curator, Young Masters Art Prize 2012Posted: October 21, 2012 | |
Daisy McMullan, curator of the Young Masters Art Prize 2012 tells Kate Eleanor Ross about curating Young and Old Masters at Sphinx Fine Art gallery in London. We discussed the role of the curator, the challenges involved with this exhibition and found out more about Daisy’s curatorial practice and interests. Daisy is my colleague at CHELSEA space where we both work. I am the Chelsea Arts Club Trust Research Fellow (which I write about in this post here ) and Daisy is the Ashley Family Foundation Research Fellow.
KR: Please introduce the Young Masters Art Prize for those of us who haven’t heard about it yet.
DM: The Young Masters Art Prize is for emerging and established artists who are inspired by the Old Masters and art history. It encourages artists to look back to the past for inspiration, whether that takes the form of a theme, such as mythology, a genre such as portraiture, a technique such as chiaroscuro, or a more literal sort of appropriation.
The Prize started in 2009, and this time around we had over 400 applications, from all over the world. Gallerist Cynthia Corbett, the founder of the Young Masters Art Prize, saw a real need for a prize such as this that recognises contemporary art’s debt to the past.
The winner of the Prize will win £5,000 and two runners up will receive £500 each. The winner will be decided by a panel of judges, which is chaired by Godfrey Barker, a journalist and critic. The other judges include artist Adam Dant, Colin Wiggins who is Curator of Special Projects at the National Gallery, Anke Adler-Slottke who is a director at Christie’s, and Roy Bolton who is director of Sphinx Fine Art, who are also hosting the first of our two exhibitions. All of the shortlisted artists are featured in two London exhibitions; the first part is at Sphinx until October 27th where the contemporary works are hung alongside the gallery’s Old Master Collection and the second will be at Gallery 27 Cork Street, from the 19th – 24th November, when our winner will be announced.
KR: Name a favourite museum/gallery.
DM: My favourite historical gallery is the Courtauld, it’s full of incredible works, and the collection is really well curated, with an excellent balance between the scholarly and a more general approach. It also has that wonderful Manet painting of the A Bar at the Folies-Bergère which I find completely absorbing.
I would choose the Camden Arts Centre as my favourite contemporary gallery, I think the range of artists, projects and exhibitions they have is great, and I always enjoy the exhibitions they have there. I particularly liked Simon Starling’s exhibition Never the Same River, I thought it was a clever play with past, present and future.
KR: Tell me about your role with the Young Masters Art Prize?
DM: My role has been primarily curatorial, so thinking about how to present the artists in the best way for each of their practices, liaising with the artists to research their work and how it can engage with two quite different exhibition spaces. I also edited the catalogue and wrote a Curatorial Statement about the Prize and the artists. For this show at Sphinx I also did a lot of work looking through their collection (which contains over 800 works) to find paintings and drawings that could be juxtaposed with the contemporary pieces.
KR: What were the most significant challenges of curating the exhibition whether that is in terms of the show hang or organising the exhibition logistically?
DM: Aside from cutting the hundreds of applications down to a shortlist of 26, the most significant curatorial challenge has been working out these juxtapositions, not only between the Old Masters and the shortlisted works, but creating a scheme for the whole exhibition around art historical genre, so that each floor has its own feel and atmosphere. In the basement there is a busy, salon-type display around still life, nature and animals, which works really well. The first floor is a quieter room with red walls, that is dedicated to interiors, portraits and feels a lot more domestic.
KR: What is your favourite piece of work in the exhibition and why?
DM: I think I should tell you my favourite shortlisted artists after the judges have decided on a winner? There is a really great Franz Hals portrait of a young man which I really love, and it works so perfectly next to Charles Moxon’s portrait Contemporary Reminiscence. We also have a guest artist Ali Assaf, who has been invited to show alongside the shortlisted artists. He is showing stills from his video work Narciso which was originally shown in the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The work is really powerful, based on a Caravaggio painting of the same name and Assaf appropriates the composition to ask questions about personal memory and identity.
KR: Describe a best and toughest moment of working on the Young Masters Art Prize.
DM: The best moment so far has been seeing this show finished and seeing all the work in the flesh for the first time, although I’m excited to find out who the winner will be. There are several very strong contenders. The toughest thing has been coordinating so many international artists, the logistical side has been harder than I imagined. But, seeing the finished exhibition here at Sphinx has made it feel worthwhile.
KR: How do your research interests or curatorial practice connect with what you’ve been working on for the Young Masters Art Prize?
DM: My research interests are around contemporary artist’s interventions in the museum and the museum as a site of modernity. I am also interested in documentation, archives, and the relationship between the past and the present, so the Prize fits very well with my own research. I have recently written for engage journal about contemporary artists who appropriate museological forms of display. I am also working on several new projects next year including two exhibitions with a group of textile artists.
KR: What is next for Daisy McMullan, curator and where can we go to find out more about you also to keep up to date?
DM: Right now I am planning the second Young Masters exhibition at Gallery 27 in Cork Street which will be really exciting, and look very contemporary, completely different to the show at Sphinx. We will also have a work byYinka Shonibare who has kindly agreed to be a guest artist for that show, which is very exciting as a young curator.
Website for YM: www.young-masters.co.uk
DM twitter: @daisy_mcmullan
All photographs are by Daisy McMullan and Young Masters Art Prize
Kate Eleanor Ross, author of the blog Curatorial Curiosities would like to thank Daisy McMullan for being the first to be interviewed for this blog. Here’s to many more! If you’re interested in being interviewed by me, please read details for how to get in touch by clicking here or go to the contact me page.
I am delighted to announced that I am this year’s recipient of the Chelsea Arts Club Trust Research Fellowship – CHELSEA space Award. This means that I will be based at CHELSEA space gallery 3 days a week, (from September 2012 for a year) working on every aspect of running a gallery, whilst exploring my own curatorial research interests. The award aims to promote professional development opportunities and mentoring for a candidate with the ability and potential to make an exceptional contribution in the area of curatorial practice and gallery management. The Award is aimed at encouraging those who would benefit from study and practical experience in a ‘live’ gallery context to realise their full potential. You can read more about the Trust here .
I am so pleased and excited that I have received this award and with it, the opportunity to develop my research into and work with curating and hopefully further my career in this area. I am gaining direct hands on experience in gallery management, designing of exhibitions, brand identity, communication, networking and team work, creating publications and archiving and documentation. In my first week working at the gallery, I got stuck in straight away installing the first exhibition of this season which is called DOME: Ralph Tubbs and the Festival of Britain.
Having never even picked up a drill before, I have already accumulated so many practical skills in my first week as I have been drilling, framing and hanging work for this exhibition. After overcoming my initial nerves, only due to lack of experience, I have discovered first hand that it’s true… practice makes perfect!
I have been learning by doing and observing and this week I have been involved first hand, in the steps involved in designing and planning a professional exhibition. I have been able to make decisions regarding the selection of work to include and how to display or hang it. I have also been made aware of the factors that the exhibition viewer or visitor does not take into account, that need to be considered, such as distances between objects for navigating the space or how the exhibition looks from outside the gallery’s transparent window as well as from inside.
For this exhibition which displays mainly archival material including photographs and other works on paper, we used vitrines and frames to install the work.
I have also come to realise that there is far more maths involved in art than I had dared imagine (I gave up maths & science subjects in school, as soon as I could to focus on arts & humanities subjects) as I learned about calculating measurements for hanging works accurately with my new best friends the tape measure, pencil and spirit level.
In the example in the picture below, we were hanging frames on a ramp which is an important architectural feature of the gallery space. So we needed to decide by how much to increase the level for hanging, also considering the incline of the ramp that the viewer stands on.
Another curatorial concern, visually, was considering the aesthetic nature of the frames being used as some were white and some wooden. In the end, we decided to mix them up and on the largest expanse of gallery white wall, we also blended hanging at different levels as we wanted to give the impression (along with the vitrines and material inside them) of the architect Ralph Tubbs who the exhibition focusses on, at work in the studio setting.
Finally, I love this image of the architect’s drawings and blue prints, having been rolled up for years… they will be exhibited in a vitrine after the favourite has been chosen to sit on top, the other layers will be stacked underneath tantalisingly, don’t they look great? Maybe they remind me of scrolls and it must help that I have an interest in old works on paper and a love of old books. These drawings even came with their own authentic smell when we un rolled them!
I am very much looking forward to the private view of this exhibition DOME: Ralph Tubbs and the Festival of Britain which is tomorrow evening Tuesday 11th September at CHELSEA space (16 John Islip Street London SW1P 4JU). The exhibition is also part of the Icon Design Trail and the London Design Festival. The exhibition is open until 20th October and I will be there working in the gallery Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays if you’d like to come and visit, I’d love to see you!