Last week brought about the culmination of a collaborative project I have been working on for a few weeks.
Part of our course requires us to work collaboratively in a group of 3 students to use a project space (empty room) to create a show/event/happening – as an extension to your practice, and give the opportunity to work with different people and perhaps in a different way to learn something new and gain from the experience.
I had thought about collaborating with some other students before so it felt natural to be able to begin to work together – having seen Joan Stack’s (www.joanstack.com) work in the studio, I could see how our practices could really compliment each other.
We also worked with Emily Gray, who has great experience not just in fine art production but in curatorial practice – we felt this could be an exciting way to work directly with a curator on a short term project such as this.
Joan and I are particularly intrigued by aesthetic and material quality and had wanted to create something installational and all encompassing.
The working process felt like a 3-way conversation and ideas developed concerning individual elements of our practice: exploration of the everyday world, making sense of it through visual exploration of material, cognitive experience of environments, aesthetic value, form and compositional relations of the physical/object/space.
We wanted the work to create tensions between the solid and fragile and look at the balance between clear and unclear. For me especially, the commercial and commodity and the examination of value symbols highlights the ambiguous nature of values in such things as arbitrary numbers, objects and representational images.
We thought about the viewer’s position – wanting to allow them to engage with the space and our work in an active way, the temporary aesthetic allowed us to develop a playful and less precious approach to making. We thought about it being like a visual argument which helped nonsensical elements to unfold.
Another aspect was challenging the traditional idea of frame, through the medium of expanded painting. So this installation touched on the state of our contemporary society; the result of a flat-pack generation ideal – reminiscent of IKEA show floor – that has many co-existing realities.
Manipulation of material, repetition, and motifs from painting, sculpture and curatorial practices are brought together to create an experience based intervention. Juxtaposing alternate realities and looking at small differences between the two practices have the outcome of an almost seamless coming together in a visual conversation. The work developed was a direct and intuitive response to each other, how we work, our materials and our conversations.
We called it same, same but different. We felt this highlighted the fact that our practices are very similar but we had chosen to investigate and highlight these small differences within one piece of work.
We had some good feedback from those who attended the opening and crit – however some people felt that the result was too messy and confused, or perhaps even contrived. However, within the parameters of the project and what we achieved, it felt really successful – engaging viewers in a different way and being able to create work which had a strong focus on materiality, aesthetics and composition.