by Beauchamp Art
(Non)Sense was an exhibition of work at the Stew Gallery, Norwich, curated by Florence Evans, featuring the works of: Elizabeth Aubury, Benjamin Beauchamp, Imogen Clarke, Henry Driver, Jed Hilton, Martin Perring, and Lloyd Smith.
As we had received a floor plan from Florence, I knew were I was positioned, and as my work was six mounted photographs, they were straightforward to install. I positioned them at my eye height, stuck them in place with blue-tack, then placed nails underneath the photos. Some smaller adjustments had to be made. I used a spirit level to make sure all the pictures were in line, but beyond that I assessed their position by eye, and moved them in increments until they were evenly spaced on the two walls. I also made sure Elizabeth and my photographs were positioned at the same height in line with the bottom of the pictures (hanging them in line with the top makes them look as though they had been hung from a washing line).
I positioned the four pictures with the slightly darkened, vignette, edges together, and the two without on the smaller wall along side the others, so they could be read as a single set, but with an awareness of the aesthetic division. Had I printed them A1 as I was originally asked to do so, the wall would have been too cluttered, so I think the decision to change to A2 was beneficial.
However, as I had mounted them the night before onto card, and not to a particularly good job, they were not perfectly set up, but were not too offensively off; once everything else was in, they looked fine. I assisted with carrying some of Henry’s equipment and clearing the space, but beyond that, there was little preparation for me to do, as Florence had already organized where people were, and everyone was happy to set up their own work, with some assistance. In addition, the private view refreshments had already been arranged, so my only real concern was putting up my work, attending the opening, then taking it down at the end. There was some rearrangement for the other participants, but nothing significant besides moving Martin’s work to the entrance area near the bar. Evidence of an effective curator; if they have done their job right, it should seem like they have done nothing at all, and that seemed to be the case here.
The private view seemed to go well, by the time I had arrived (coming over from another exhibition as part of the busy season at Yallops) most of the other artists had arrived, and people slowly began to trickle in. About an hour or so in, the Stew was rather full, and there was a good range of people from NUA; associates of the artists, and UEA; that of the curator, which resulted in quite a bustling atmosphere, and people seemed to be engaging with the works and the accompanying leaflet.
Henry’s interactive video installation, Odyssey, seemed to go down very well, its multi-screen display and audience involvement resulted in a stead traffic of people throughout the full length of the gallery (rather than just crowding around the bar by the entrance). This, along with Jed and Imogen’s works occupied the darkened half of the gallery. This led on from, across from Lloyd’s captcha piece, perpendicular to Elizabeth’s images, and Martin’s works around the other side of the wall. However, the spectacle of the works involving moving images did draw from the static works, but that is inevitable.
My work was well received, to those viewers whom I spoke to about them, although as most people seemed to interpret my photographs as being taken from CCTV, with few arguments to the contrary, I have considered retitling the works ‘Catholic Cathedral Televisions’; given the locations they were taken from, and it would form the same initialism. It was also useful to hear that my pieces were appreciated by one of my photography peers; as even when being experimental with media, one stills wants one’s work to positively intrigue the viewer. (As much as I like making works that are a visual assault/unpleasant to look at, if people instantly dismiss them on this basis, then the work fails in some respects.)
Overall, the exhibition went well, there was a fair audience, they engaged with the work, and the thematic relationship between the work; that of technological concerns in art; came through and was evident in the surrounding discussion, as well as providing a social platform for the artists to engage directly with their audience and receive feedback. On reflection, I would have liked to have the photos mounted better, but I do not think that this was detrimental to the reception of the work.
F8: Start://Settings/Control Panel/Add or Remove Art/Uninstall Artwork:/Add/Remove://Yes
Removing the work was simply a matter of pulling the pictures off the wall, removing the nails, and filling the holes with polyfiller. Although, as with installation, I helped move some of the equipment of my fellow artists. This is one major advantage of showing photographs; they are relatively straightforward. Although they can be complicated by more unique means of display, simply having them on a wall around eye height seems an effective way of going about exhibiting them. Moreover, as I lack all compositional ability, and so I have to use linear systematic approaches to show my work, as I have never successfully dealt with any deviation from regular means of display; with everything symmetrical and evenly spaced. This is something I have to work on, but for the time being I shall work within my limits, as creativity is impossible without them.