Thursday, 29 April 2010

Just in case you haven't received it yet...

...our mailer is out!

Sorry, We’re Open

12 - 21 May 2010

Charlotte Bracegirdle, Russell Chater, Martina Geccelli, Nathalie Guinamard, Gusztav Hamos and Katja Pratschke, Silvia Iorio, Cesare Pietroiusti, Dylan Shipton, Sophie Vent.

We are pleased to invite you to Sorry, We’re Open, the inaugural exhibition curated by the students on the new MA Curating the Contemporary degree, organised by London Metropolitan University in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery.

Sorry, We’re Open brings together works from London based and international artists, exploring different species of spaces and considering the definition of a clearly defined site. The show’s institutional environment inside the University, Unit 2, has the ambivalent quality of being private-public, close-open, with no archive or memory, and therefore having the possibility to re-define its identity within a specific moment in time, through the spectator’s experience of art.
As Marshall McLuhan argues, the countersituations, created by artists, “provide means of direct attention and enable us to see and understand more clearly.” The distinctive multi-disciplinary works selected for Sorry, We’re Open deconstruct the notion of a clearly defined site through an interrogation process performed by artists and curators, enabling connections, activating the mind to work, like synapses in the brain, like light instantly travelling to an unknown, remote place; attempting to highlight the hidden process at the base of every human relationship with a given space. The prolific openness of experimentation promoted by Sorry, We’re Open continues with the special parallel events, which include a talk and a performance.

Sorry, We’re Open is curated by Will Cooper, Clementina Cosco, Habda Rashid, Francesca Sarno, sybin.

A catalogue designed by Patrick Savile, with texts by the curators, will accompany the show.

Special Events: Thursday 20 May, from 6 pm.
Cesare Pietroiusti talk: The Artist and the Given Space. 
Sophie Vent performance: Dancing on Kekulé (B-End), with the Damilola Taylor Centre.

Unit 2 
London Metropolitan University 
59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF 
(Aldgate East tube / buses routes 25, 205)

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM 

Sorry, We’re Open is supported by:

We would like to thank Patrick very much for an excellent work on the postcards as well as on the catalogue!

And our skilled Habda combined the back and front of the postcards together to obtain a nice e-flyer. 
It seems we keep on playing with the space, let's hope it won't become and addiction.

Clash of the Titans

This blog is bo-ring.
No updates since we found a title, shame on us. Well, to our defence I can say that we were very busy: we're organising a show here.

And no, this post is no movie review.
I remember I have said that the relationship between curator and artist is like flying a kite. Let's spend a few words about the relationship between curator and curator instead...or else, between a group of five peers with different ideas and one common goal: to put up a very good show and impress, to finally do the job we are studying for.

First of all, it should be fun without forgetting professionalism, but of course the latter tends to take over and, as it is normal, difference of opinions arises because everyone has his or her own way to push for excellence. That is when, basically, I came to think of the Titans.

Imagine a huge battlefield, with nothing but dried land, the earth trembling and cracking while the fight rages. Gigantic creatures are wrestling each other, their powerful cries high above the cloud of dust caused by their clashes. Suddenly, a small figure emerges from the mayhem (Perseus?), puts himself well out of the way, wipes the sweat and dirt from his brow and sits down to wait. 
He understood this is not serious: in the end, the Titans and Titaness were brothers and sisters fighting like children over a toy: at the end of the day, everything will end up the Italian way, or singing Kumbaya.

These last two expressions need a bit of clarification,  I guess what I intended is not clear enough when you click on the links...English is not my first language (as you might have noticed from the possible errors around), and I was looking for the right expression to say that no matter how big the discussion is, at the end the storm finishes with a laugh and a pat on the shoulder, like nothing at all had happened. And that's good, I think it shows good teamwork.
For my researches, Wordreference is my best friend, really, I'd be lost without it! When I looked up the sentence, I was very surprised to find out that someone had the nerve to translate "finire a tarallucci e vino", which in Italian literally means "to end up (an argument) drinking wine and eating biscuits", as "to end up the Italian way." I thought it was so funny (and appropriate) that I bursted out laughing. Just making fun of myself.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Habemus Nomen

Try to imagine what it takes to find a name for a show that has such a broad and open concept as ours.

Normally a show would be named after:

1. An artwork or artist. Even in group shows. Like, for example, I am not here. An Exhibition without Francis Alÿs ;

2. A concept. But naming a show "The Space" is like calling a Chihuahua "Hercules";

3. A complete non-sense. The public will love it. Like when you go and see a show about needle-works called The Unbearable Lightness of Being. No, unfortunately this show isn't on yet, I've just made it up. If I have to improve my jokes please let me know.

So, let's put up a little scenario, shall we? Let's make it like X-Factor.
Gala Night. Just three contestants left. You can cut the excitement in the air with a knife. 

Ladies and Gentleman, for the final evening of Who Wants to Be a Show Title, we have...and then a figure, not yet illuminated by spots, appears in the dark just next to the curtain. He seem not to be steady on his feet and he looks a bit like...Willem. De Kooning.

...Slippery Glimpses! The Presenter announces, and the light goes on. The public claps in a very educated way. Slippery Glimpses nods politely in their direction.

...and then, ladies and gentleman, straight from Borges' universe (a place far, far away), we have...Aleph! From behind a curtain emerges a lady with a long, sparkling black dress with white spots; she seems annoyed: "Emh, excuse me" she says. The Presenter looks startled: "It's The Aleph, actually. I am a point in the space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into me can see everything in the Universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping or confusion. And I would like to say hi to my mum. HI MUM!" 
Yes, err...thank you THE Aleph, very well, please take your position. There we go...and finally, ladies and gentleman, we have...

The curtains suddenly opens. It is a bit unfair to the other contestants, who frown. On the other side, there is...nothing. The expectant drums sound suddenly falls and the embarrassing silence is replaced by the public's gasps.
Sorry, we're...the Presenter begins in an apologetic tone. "Sorry, I am here!" A voice calls from the floor. Slippery Glimpses bends down and picks up what seems like a door sign. The Aleph looks horrified.

He reads aloud: "Sorry, We Are Open." 
"Yeah, that's me!" The signs reply. The Presenter makes up for the impasse.
Yes ladies and gentleman, that's him! And now that we have all our final contestants gathered here, I will finally announce the name of the winner...

And let the curtains close here, because I am sure you understood who the winner is.
Well done Will!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Some Images

Here are some of the images of work from the artists participating in the exhibition:

 Dylan Shipton, Counter Structure, 2008

Nathalie Gunamard; Interior 3 (Doors), 2008

Martina Geccelli; 2 Boxes - Liter,  2004

Silvia Iorio

      Russell Chater; (untitled): iwozeren166bd, 2010

Charlotte Bracegirdle; The Artist's Studio, 2010

Katja Pratschke and Gusztav Hamos
Fremdkorper (Transposed Bodies), video,2002.

Sophie Vent

More Images will follow Shortly............Oh and a name for the show?@?!

Posted by Habda

Friday, 9 April 2010

Carmen Queasy

When you are not a native speaker, language misunderstandings happen. 

For example, I wanted to start this post with some lyrics from the song Carmen Queasy from Skunk Anansie + Maxim because I thought the words were: Money making this wonderful things. Having not completely understood the lyrics, I have imagined that Skin was listing some nice things you can have because of money, but in a rather pillory way. Quite the opposite, as the correct phrase is: Money making is a wonderful thing

I smiled to myself when I thought that it is exactly what doesn't happen to the dark side of the Art World, the side behind the scenes, that of the curators. 

The show is going rather well. We have even written our texts for the catalogue, that, after long consideration, will be a nice constantine (constantine?!? You mean concertina...) instead of a booklet, because the latter was too expensive. We are bringing in some artists from abroad, and this weights considerably on the budget, so we had to cut out a bit on the catalogue. A necessary sacrifice? Who knows, I guess we'll only discovery it after the opening. The concept of the space is finally developed, and each artist's work that we selected seem to get well with it. 

At this very moment, I think about myself as calm and queasy. Yes, call me Carmen. 
Some of you may remember this post and our encounter with lovely Silvia Iorio. Her interesting work, based on the entanglement theory, is turning out to be rather complicated to do for this particular contest of an MA curating student show. I would say that money is the main problem, but someone would surely retort that you can indeed organize a great show with very little budget.
I would like to reply then thinking about the words of Hans Ulrich Obrist: in this job, mistakes happen, and they are very welcome. I take it this is it, but I am still hoping we can run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. In short: we really want Silvia in the show, but still need to understand how.

I think I have got a twitching eye...

The elusivity of this post is deliberated, as the complete technical description of Silvia Iorio's new work cannot be divulgated. Yet.

Friday, 2 April 2010

How about some advice?

I have read with great amusement this recommendations to a budding curator by the self confessed newspaper man Augustine Zenakos, who in turn was suggested to us by the curator Tom Morton. I couldn't resist but leaving some personal comments.

Read a lot of post-structuralism, preferably in the form of quotations you can find in catalogue essays. Quote them in turn, profusely, making sure their relationship to any actual artwork remains obscure.

Whenever I see the word "post-structuralism", I just turn the page over.

No studying anything before the 1960s is allowed. Learn all your history through contemporary art theory.

I tried that, but my heart belongs with the idea that history, all history, is necessary to do a good job.

Never say you are anything more than a facilitator for artists. If inadvertently you do, and you momentarily appear like having anything remotely resembling a vision or, worse, an agenda, cover it up quickly with a phrase like “curators have to stand firm against the voracity of the market”.

Yes, Master.

Be as immaterial as possible, be a ghost. Support everything anti-spectacular and insubstantial. When asked to describe it, use words like interventional, process-based, archaeological, investigative. If challenged with something like the inability of others to see the point, call them antiquated and formalist and declare the work of art to be changing.

You forgot to include "taxonomy" in your list, Master.

Praise the local, but in abstract terms. Make sure that you choose a local thing that does not require any local knowledge to be understood. If you can’t find something suitably local where you are, pick a Mexican or a Lithuanian one. When faced with a situation that is truly local, dismiss it as nationalist, and continue.

But this will cut any potential fund out, Master.

Be against state-run cultural policies, as well as private enterprise. Declare your support for small autonomous zones of collaboration. When asked about their funding, don’t dwell too much: this is not about money.

And the fact that it is never about money makes the curator zone off limits for those who can't afford it, which is a shame.

Be for independent organizations, but when faced with one, call it cliquey and turn away. There is nothing there for the taking, anyway.

Er...Yes, Master.

Always acknowledge the public. Say that all this is being done for their benefit, because contemporary art is for everyone. Then, blame lack of funding, public support, etc. If someone appears to be practical about these things, call them a behind-the-scenes-mover-and-shaker and state that you are not interested in authoritarian structure.

Wow, I never thought to actually be such a complicated thing. I just thought I was practical.

You’ll do fine.

Thank you, Master.

And now, let's close the little distraction-from-the-more-important-task-of-writing-the-damn-catalogue-text-for-our-show-post and go back to work.