This week I am collaborating remotely with artist Lizzie Donegan. She had a request over on Curator Space for artists to post work to each other, exhibit them and report back.
“I am an MA art student interested in spontaneity and playfulness in art making. I am looking for postgraduate art students and other critically engaged visual artists to participate in a 1 to 1 art exchange with me.
We will post our work to each other, create solo exhibitions of one another’s work in our respective homes and then discuss this process and the outcomes.
The work needs to fit through the letterbox in a single envelope or package and can be accompanied with instructions for display- or not.
To see the kind of work I make and the ideas I am researching, please visit: lizziedonegan.tumblr.com”
We chatted by email for a bit to discuss the possibilities, and limitations of displaying work than hangs where cats live. On Saturday a tasty package arrived from her.
In our emails I had shared pictures of the space I have to display work. In particular I have a blue gallery wall and I said I could swap pictures around to display hers for the week’s exchange.
When the work arrived it felt like it needed a dark background so I will move some things around. However, it also felt important to play with scale. We are limited by what we can post but not by how we display work.
So, I started to work on a tiny gallery, a repurposed cardboard box where the artwork would look HUGE. For scale, and because we were discussing them, I’m using little plastic cats. For some reason I have loads of them. So it’s becoming a story of how the cats are setting up the private view. Watch this space……I’ll document on here and on Instagram.
And here is my work in Lizzie Donegan’s home.
I sent her bird drawings on vellum that was scored, cut and punctured so it could fit together with small grooved sticks.
The vellum had a life of it’s own and wanted to twist and curl, I encouraged that.
This is what she did with it.
Time to pack down the exhibition. I spoke to Lizzie Donegan yesterday to compare notes and the question of who the artist is came up. With my work I absolve responsibility to the birds and elements, or to sounds or anything intangible I try to capture. Once the source data is has done it’s job I then make some creative decisions about the direction it needs to go in. I like to think of this as a collaboration between me the artist and the other actors in the network (thank you Latour).
For the Tiny Gallery I played at letting the cats as technical staff make decisions about the artwork. Looking from their perspective where an A4 sheet of paper took up a whole wall, opened up new ways for me to see the work too. When the cut out paper roof came down it folded beautifully into another installation with fluid lines and expressive shadows. I’ve really enjoyed the contrasts of scale the Tiny Gallery affords.
The technicians found some nice industrial flooring, they set up the artwork Lizzie Donegan sent me as part of the art exchange and we opened the show.
I’ve used the paper cutout as a ceiling for the tiny gallery, the light going through it gives a sort of underwater feel I might experiment with later in the week.
And then, later on, the building inspector arrived.
Lizzie sent me 4 of her artworks. One is the amazing lady with musical hair. Two are A4 or close and can be mounted on a wall. The last is a amoeba shape cut out of folded newspaper. This last one scared me a bit. I’m feeling reverence for the work and I was terrified of tearing it. I thought about leaving it folded and making another installation for the tiny gallery but eventually I took a deep breath and opened it out.
It is hanging on the kitchen door, looking out onto the garden. The shapes on the inside look like sunlight dappling through and creating leafy shadows. It brings outside inside and it creates little windows too.
I have taken down one of my pictures – it was a 1920’s illustration of some orange flowers and put up 2 pieces by Lizzie Donegan instead.
I’d like to change the spacing around but getting any fixings in my walls generally results in the whole wall falling down so I’m making do with what is there.
Having someones work around the place is making me feel more mindful of the space I inhabit. It’s like having a visitor and I feel like I should be reverent, and on my best behaviour. I should probably also tidy up a bit.