Curation/Contamination Workshop with Bryan Eccleshall

This was a two part workshop run by OCA tutor Bryan Eccleshall. We were a large group overall, but split into a number of smaller breakout groups for the exercise we undertook.

Bryan introduced the session by talking about curating exhibitions and the contamination (or cross pollination) that can happen when you curate a show and how it may affect your own work. He gave examples of different exhibitions that had been created that each had very different effects, e.g. the Royal Academy summer exhibition where large numbers of works are displayed tightly packed, with little space between them; to surrealist exhibitions such as First Papers of Surrealism exhibition in New York in 1942 where Michel Duchamp famously¬† used ‘a mile of string’ to form a spider’s web blocking access to the work.

The concept being that how you view art, how it is displayed and how you work collaborate with others to curate an exhibition can also influence your own art work.

We split into smaller groups of around six students (mine was called the Bourgeois group) and were told to each bring two pieces of work and collaborate to curate an exhibition. It was excellent in that we were from different disciplines and stages of our study. We share our work and decided on a format for the exhibition inspired by Duchamp’s Boite en Valise¬†exhibition which was a suitcase containing 69 miniature reproductions of his own work.

We decided that our exhibition would be a virtual one where our images would appear out of a suitcase. We worked to create links between our images and came up with the idea of the theme of location and dislocation which the works would relate to, our title for our exhibition was Location, Location, Dislocation.

In the second week every group presented their exhibition and it was quite remarkable how differently each group had interpreted the theme and curated their own images.

What did I learn from the workshop? Quite a number of things:

  • working with artists from other genres can open your eyes to different ways of doing or seeing things
  • making connections between what seemed initially to be very disparate work
  • how, through discussion, work can be interpreted in different ways
  • seeing how other artists interpret the task set and learn from that
  • quite a few technical aspects, flip books, online gallery software, using padlet to collaborate, , turning powerpoint into a video.