Update: I still find it hard to believe just how supportive the curator and exhibition organiser were when I met with them on Wednesday – the day after realising that I simply could not show the placard pieces.
We spent the morning discussing potential practical solutions: covering the entire surface with a silver film, finding an assistant to help me re-make the work, commissioning someone else to make the work. We got advise from various experts – and learned a lot, however most of it was not positive. The polyurethane glue that bled on the front side of the work had ’burnt’ itself in the surface of the plast mirror. If the mirror had been glass it would have been possible to remove the glue. I had not used glass as the piece was to be outside in a public space and I judged it too risky to use regular mirror.
At lunch one of the other artists (all of whom had heard of my situation and were wonderfully sympathetic) asked if I was going to show something else. That thought had not occurred to me. I had made work specifically for the show – both thematically and in terms of placement – with that work unusable I saw no option but to withdraw. And even if I had something else I did not feel that it was my place to suggest it (this is a subject for a separate post). Lunch wound up and we had all gone back to where we were working. I was packing up my stuff in the workshop, feeling miserable and embarrassed, when the curator came in an asked if possibly had something else that could fit the exhibition. The artist I spoke with at lunch was very elusive when I later asked her if she had something …
The reason that I applied for the show, and I guess the reason that I was selected, is because the theme – the relationship between playfulness and seriousness – is a current that runs through my practice. So yes I had other pieces that suited the theme but nothing that suited being outside and nothing on the scale of the placards. The curator invited me to go around the building with her and find a place where one fo these other pieces could be shown in such a way that it could be seen from outside. By the entrance we found a spot for Eugènes ringar #2.
I quickly scribbled a list of all the things that I needed to gather together to install that piece, packed up the residue of the disaster, and headed back to Enköping and the studio. After that I popped to the hardware store to get hooks, some tension straps, and cable ties. By early evening everything was packed in the car ready for the next day and I sat down and logged in to the AGM and ’house meeting’ at the new studio. A few hours later the meetings finished, I logged out and fell in to bed exhausted but excited.
Yesterday I was delighted to take part in the online opening of the exhibition. The work looks good, of course it is very different from what I thought I would be showing, but it fits nonetheless. The nature of the digital opening – the curator and organiser going from work to work and speaking with each artist in front of their piece – means that I need to watch the ’live broadcast’ to see the how the opening looked. I am not quite ready to do that yet!
The whole week has given me so much to think about. I have already mentioned reviewing my ways of working in my previous post, now I am adding a raft of things about showing and about my ways of working with other artists and curators.
I am incredibly grateful for all the support that I received. I might even go so far as to see it as a very silver lining – how wholly appropriate!