Following a crit with MA Head of Curating & Collections, with head of MA Critical Theory, the curators moved into Housed: and rearranged the furniture. Their aim was to push the works to new limits and test the boundaries between artist and curator.
MA Curating & Collections intervene in Housed:
Here is the result:
Some pieces weren’t re-sited whilst some works were moved. In either case, even a small change resulted in a striking new conversation between works.
Every small detailed was carefully considered. The curators knew very little about the artist or the works presented, even though some artists provided a supporting element in a small envelope left near their work… a kind of telegram to the curator.
The curators then relied on aesthetic considerations of the site for the work as well was their reading of the work itself.
Tomorrow [10 April 2015] the artists and curators will come together for a final shared discussion about the week.
In a twist on the usual practice, the artists have installed Housed: without curatorial input – for the curators to come in later and test the limits of the concept of the show as well as the relationship between maker and curator, by re-hanging the show, hoping to offer a fresh perspective.
The afternoon session begins with a meeting between the 4 curators and a few of the artists, to revisit the concept (and to provide some technical input on some of the works that may require some instruction/advice).
And the curators just got on with it!
Here Oxana and Fabi are working with placement of Saeideh’s photographs.
Then they move on to re-stage Regan’s video and Joe’s painting.
It takes all four to work on Sarah’s large-scale installation (l-r: Oxana, Fabi, Roberta, and YangYang)
What the curators have done will be a complete surprise to the artists coming in the next day.
Donald Smith, head of the MA Curating & Collections and Director of Chelsea Space, with Stephen Wilson, head of MA Critical Theory, join us the morning of 8 April 2015 for a walk-through and crit of Housed:, providing valuable insights and feedback on the project – before the curators come in to re-hang the show.
A few summary notes from the discussion with Donald and Stephen:
Discussion started out with an introduction by Alex and Regan about Housed: what we were attempting to do, and what we hoped would be the outcome.
Questions from Donald and Stephen included:
How did we get started?
How did we curate/ site the works?
Some were according to the artist proposals
Some works were site-specific
And for the rest the artists collaborated on placement or went with “what space am I given”
Observations from Stephen and Donald included: the exhibition appeared to be relaxed, with a cohesive vibe between the artists apparent – even though it was clearly experimental in nature; seemed to be for most artists, more useful as an exercise than interim show (which was noted as a “graded exercise” with additional constraints/pressures of time, space, and more artists in a single space). That said, the interim show was a natural precursor to this show, and most likely a helpful basis or stepping-stone for Housed:
Was this seen as an Academic research project or a studio/exhibition opportunity?
Many of the artists’ work is research-driven
That said, what is an exhibition these days? Is it a display of research results? Or simply a show of stuff that’s been made? Clearly, an exhibition can be both…
How do you house your practice in different situations? It was suggested, as an artist, one must figure out how to “house” your practice in each situation, in each site, or each exhibition – consider there is no one way to “house” your practice, house your work.
Following the group discussion, each artist had the opportunity for some individual feedback (which I won’t get into here).
All in all, it was an extremely valuable and enjoyable day!
A final thought from Donald who seemed to think in terms of both the overall quality of the exhibition and with regards to the works themselves, the “curators might be fucked now as some of the works must be unmade, broken, to rehang”. 🙂 He went on to remark that on this first viewing, it seems the “power” is in the artists in this show, who, Donald says, “curated the hell out of it”. It shall be seen tomorrow! 🙂
References and other information
Donald also referenced the book: “the complete curator” (a title I can’t seem to find?) But I did find this instead: A Curator’s Bookshelf on artbook.com)
It was a gorgeous spring evening for the PV/opening night of Housed: [7 April 2015] with approximately 50 guests, showing the work of 12 artists in the MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts. For the first half of the project/residency, the artists installed their work without curator input. In the middle of the week, the curators will re-hang the show, offering a fresh perspective on the work and the exhibition as a whole. Exhibition ends 10 April 2015.
A walk through Housed:
Shadi Mahsa, ‘The brides I knew’, 2015, performance and framed photograph prints. Opening night and private view of ‘Housed:’ at Chelsea College of Arts, London. Photo credit Thomas Butler.
In the first phase of Housed:, the artists took on installation, without input from the curating group – who would see the show for the first time tomorrow [Wednesday 8 April 2015] just prior to re-curation/re-hang of the work.
There was a great variety of works, all linked to the overall remit in some way, that is, related to the theme of Housed:as well as considering that the work may be re-“housed” mid-way through the project.
Some of the work incorporated a performative/interactive element…
While other work was more subtle…
Overall, there seemed to be a strong cohesion between the works, all conversant with the nearest pieces in some fashion, with a strong sense of unity and flow overall.
Set-up is complete of the first phase of Housed:, in which 12 artists join 5 curators in an experimental project that plays with the relationship between artist and curator. Ends 10 April 2015.
A sneak peek into Housed:
A number of large-scale installations as well as smaller work comes together under the same roof in Housed:, a project in which curators and artists attempt to define new relationships between the two.
Photography, video, painting, and installation all play a part in Housed: to create conversations that ebb and flow between the artworks and the space that contains them.
Alex Roberts, one of the curators of Housed:, uses the project to “proposes a chain of perspectives that challenge the ‘occupancy’ inside the regimented frameworks” such as the academic gallery setting.
The project will continue to evolve over the week, with a complete re-hang by MA Curating & Collections group, scheduled for Wednesday (8 April 2015) afternoon.
The project will be documented throughout, with the aim to compile a finished catalogue a few weeks after the show closes, with images, essays, and notes captured from the week.
Learn more about Housed:
View/download the Housed: flyer by clicking on the image below:
The artists begin installation of ‘Housed’ exhibition in the Cookhouse, Chelsea College of Arts on 2 April 2015, in anticipation of the gallery opening 11:00AM the following Tuesday on 7 April 2015.
All in a day’s work…
No exhibition is without its challenges, many of which only crop up before installation of the show even begins. Well, due to Easter bank holidays on both the Friday and Monday, we knew going into Thursday that we’d only have from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm to install our show and some pieces were particularly involved.
No worries when, as they say, “many hands make light work”. Then in true comedic fashion, we were given the heads up at 11:15 that the college will on lock-down from noon for security reasons… shortening our install day from around 9 hours to 45 minutes.
Good thing there are 10 of us here, plus Kelise’s brother TD, to do the heavy lifting. We scrambled to get everyone’s work from cars and delivery vans, and locked ourselves in for the day.
By 5:30 pm, the Cookhouse was still a hive of activity.
By 8:00 pm, there was more work to be done to complete installation before 11:00 am opening on Tuesday.
Find out how things went in the next blog post, coming Tuesday 7 April 2015…
Read more about ‘Housed’ and Chelsea College of Arts