Week 6 | Exhibition Research

I feel that the best way to start this post is to refer to my earlier forum post about my intended exhibition.

In response to this this task, I am considering the use of a football changing room as an instillation which would require the viewer to move around the space to view work situated in different corners of the room (Bishop 2005). A football dressing room is frequented usually at the same time on a weekly basis, by participants in sport in this case football players. The intention would be to ‘activate’ participants into consuming the photographs which would be framed and mounted, although I have not decided how the photographs would be mounted. This image is not the actual space as I won’t be attending until tomorrow.

As I engaged with the weeks reading I was unsure of how to apply lots of the ideas to my project. therefore I will use this post to review and discuss the various points of interest that I identified and apply them to my intentions accordingly.

Firstly Bishop (2005) makes the distinction between ‘Instillation of art’ and ‘Instillation art’. Instillation of art being secondary to the art itself is an interesting starting point as my understanding of the ideologies of galleries is quite basic. Reflecting on my own experience of attending galleries, I would always attend with the expectation of viewing object and artefact to look at them and spend a short time contemplating those objects that I found interesting. Never considering the idea that the space itself could constitute art. In terms of creating my own museum, it would be my intention to use the space I have access to, in order to turn it into a piece of ‘instillation art’. When I proposed this on the group forum my peers correctly pointed out that using a football changing room as an exhibition space would alienate much of the potential audience and severely limit the exposure of my work.

I am in total agreement with regard to the issue of audience however I feel that the intention of my exhibition at this stage isn’t to maximise audiences. The intention at this stage is to give something back to the organisers and participants of the football club (Reddish North End) who have granted total access to this space in addition to their trust.

And in a personal sense, being a community project, based in the area I spent my formative years, I feel like the location of a football dressing room based at the space I have been photographing is an accessible place for fellow volunteers, coaches and participants to enter the space of their own motivation as opposed to having the work bestowed upon them in a more public arena.

Furthering my argument for the football dressing room as a location for instillation art is the presence of white walls. O’Doherty, B (1999:15) states that ‘The object introduced into the gallery ‘frames’ the gallery and its laws’. With the ideas of O’Doherty in mind. It is my intention to transform this functional space into a place that resembles a type of ‘do it yourself gallery’ moving it away from a space which people occasionally use to change.

Gallery Space

It is my intention to place images in black frames slightly below eye level so that they may be viewed with a type of unconscious importance so that viewers are able to view the details in the work that I have created. Further justification of using this space and the use of white walls in addition to black frames, is the accessibility and in-expense of frames, furthermore, I will utilise frames to create a type of separation to emphasise the depth of the photograph compared to the wall. O’Doherty, B (1999:18) comments with regards to the ‘easel picture is like a portable window that once sat on the wall, penetrates with deep space’. I don’t purport a frame to be the same as an easel however the use of a frame I feel will be important in order to achieve the separation as argued above.

In terms of the method of hanging the works I exhibit, O’Doherty (1999) states ‘hanging editorialises on matters of interpretation and value and unconsciously connected to taste and value. In terms of the way I intend to hang my work, I would like nothing more for them to be a permanent fixture. However before this potentially happens, I feel that the work will need to met with approval with the viewers who frequent the space on a regular basis.

In conclusion, the impact of this task is of significance in a personal sense as I see it as an opportunity to visualise the impact of the club and the volunteers. I see the exhibition of as celebration of the people that use the room and it is the hope that the participants/viewers take a small sense of pride from being exhibited in this space.

My potential audience may also be diverse in terms of cultural background, however the presence of physical prints may be novel as Cotton (2014:219) points out ‘the physical characteristics of photographic prints, no longer the default platform for photography but an increasingly rarified craft divorced from our day to day experiences of the medium’ Cotton makes an important point which may be relevant to my potential audience and how their day to day experience of photography is largely divorced from viewing printed photographs in a physical sense. In favour of endless streams of digital photographs seen on social media using various digital methods. Cotton’s ideas certainly provide a solid argument for the printing of photographs. The potential audience for my exhibition at the football club are probably digital natives as opposed to remembering the days of analogue photography. Thinking back to my own childhood, I have really good memories of looking through my grandparents photo albums of family holidays and days out. An interesting study would be to gain an insight into whether this still happens. Although digital natives, do children still look at printed photographs? Thinking forward, I could add a participatory element to my exhibition by using a photo album and asking members of the club to fill it by contributing one photograph each, signing it on the back before collecting at the end of the exhibition. The results may be unrelated directly to my broader aim however it would be interesting to gain an insight into the lives of the members of the club.

Upon further investigation of exhibitions and their importance to the art world as a whole, I feel I have mad important steps forward in developing my understanding. Barker (1998) has been useful in attaining this knowledge, initially illustrating the different types of galleries and museums in addition to understanding them as a type of currency for artists, the more galleries and the bigger the galleries an artist may exhibit, the broader their credibility and capitol within the art world. Ultimately making their work more appealing to buyers. Barker (1998:113) illustrates this assumption when she states ‘Exhibitions are central to the economic and social system within which all art is produced, distributed and debated’. In considering the importance of an exhibition, my thoughts are led to considering them as a type of shop window to moving through the various circuits of galleries and museums. A means of building a reputation and credibility with the gatekeepers of the industry. A point further illustrated by Barker (1998:p114) who suggests ‘In the usual run of things, the works that fetch the highest prices on the art market are also the ones that are most exhibited’. This leads to a form of scepticism about the art world as Barkers ideas allude to a hierarchy of name and reputation as opposed to quality and intent. In making this statement I don’t mean to suggest that producers of high art don’t produce important pieces of art however the ideology and capitalism present within the world of exhibitions may inhibit new talent and the discovery of it. Furthermore, the prejudice of representation in terms of diverse groups is a further issue which needs consideration.

Barker, E (1998) Contemporary Cultures of Display. London, The Open University.

Bishop, C (2005) Instillation Art: A Critical History. London, Tate.

Cotton, C (2014) The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London, Thames & Hudson.

O’Doherty, B (1999) Inside the white cube: the ideology of the gallery. University of California Press.

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