After months of planning the day finally arrived. I have had moments of thinking what on earth am I doing as well as a fear that with such a large space and only 6 pieces will my work look insignificant and underwhelming.
After an early start Mark and I arrived at The Crypt gallery at 10:30am, with the help of a friend we started by initially placing each of the pieces into the space I had planned for them to go.
The only piece that was still undecided was ‘Sum’ so I spent some time considering the implications of each space. Two of the spaces were tucked away and the main walk through would remain empty if I had used these spaces. I felt that seeing a piece as soon as viewers walked into the space was important so the decision was made.
Some of my pieces were very quick to install for example evaporate which simply required placing. Sum took the most amount of time because it needed measuring. The centre point of the walkway marked with a 1.75m diameter circle marked out in chalk. The fibre optic cable caused a few problems, because of the surface of the floor, the circle wouldn’t sit properly. We decided to tape it down and see if it would settle after a few hours.
By lunch time we had all of the work placed in their spaces and so we had a lunch break.
After lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon carefully curating the lighting. I wanted to limit the lighting to just what was necessary. In the gallery each light could be individually turned off, moved and positioned. We moved meticulously through the space angling, moving and turning off lights to create an atmospheric experience that lit just the sections containing my work.
After this I had an hour to take photos and film a walk through of the space before getting ready for the private view.
The private view started at 6pm and was a fantastic evening. I had approximately 80 visitors during the two days with a mixture of friends, family, people who had pledged to support me, people who had discovered the exhibition via social media and passers by.
It was amazing to talk people through my ideas and thinking behind the work and to see their reactions. I had long and interesting discussions about they feel the work speaks to them as well.
I had two very special experiences during the two days that reinforced to me how important art is to not just an art community but the wider public.
Two visitors were almost moved to tears during a visit. One had lost someone close and had become very low. They had stopped being creative and going to visit exhibitions but felt compelled to start again after visiting. I had a long talk to them and it was so interesting to hear how inspired they were to create work about their experience.
Wonderful, heart and eye opening
Another visitor arrived because an office she needed to visit was closed and this was indoors and free. She had no interests in art particularly and started to move through the space quite quickly. However she began to slow, taking in the work and the space. At the end she came up to me and explained how the exhibition sums up for her alot of what she has gone through. Origonally from Mozambique she had a sister who had been raped during the civil war. Currently another relation is currently being held within a Mozambique hospital, she is denied phone calls with her relative unless she pays the hospital fees. This was the reason for the visit to the office. I explained how I had raised money for the exhibition and suggested the use of justgiving.com. We spoke at length about memories and how certain pieces I had made remind her of elements of her childhood. Momentary reminded her of snake skins and how families in her village would hang snake skins on the walls because of the beautiful patterning. She talked about her grandmothers sewing box and all the precious things she kept in it. It was a truly wonderful experience for me.
I came to this church looking for help. It was closed but the crypt held an exhibition. Lo behold it expressed and evoked current, past memories. At this moment pain disappeared and joy and light fluttered within me. The space was perfect for this exhibition. Thank you Katie for listening and sharing part of you with me. Your art is amazing and beautiful.
Some further comments in my comments book:
The work evokes so well the fragility and beauty of individual lives and memory
Exquisite, moving and wonderfully presented work. Brilliant!
It was lovely to meet a fellow OCA student at the exhibition as well. Lottie who is currently studying Mixed Media for Textiles came with her family. It was lovely to meet them all. Lottie has written a fantastic review of my exhibition on her learning log here
The whole experience has been vital in so many ways:
- To show experience and capability of putting on an exhibition
- To show ability of consideration of space in relation to my work
- To show understanding of requirements to put on a show, marketing etc
- To interact with others about my work and see it through new eyes.