Sunday, 15 September 2013

Autumn is upon us...curating the Vole & other spaces...

Helén Petersen's work awaits it fate...

Hello dear reader, with summer well & truly over my favourite season has almost begun. Autumn I am told in the Northern hemisphere officially begins on September 22nd till December 20th! With that in mind the art calendar also begins in earnest with so much to see we will barely know where to start.

Unseen opening 2012

As you may or may not know L A Noble Gallery is in between exhibitions & off to Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam 26 - 29 September. I am off to Foam Museum to give some collecting lectures on Tues/Wed evening, so before I head out thought it only fair to post beforehand.

Phillip Wülfing's domestic image in a warm wooden
 frame compliments the space beautifully

A new show is always an exciting time as the preparation leading up to it finally becomes a reality. It's a bit like looking forward to a holiday without the beach bit.  In this case the change of venue provided a new challenge from a curatorial point of view, which I relish. Curating the same space is good, but the creative solutions you have find to make the most of a new space is all the more satisfying when they work. 

Katherine & Emily measure

In the current Maybe A Vole space with its grey walls allows the work to ‘pop’ as the contrast pushes the wall back & the images forward. We are so used to white walls in art galleries & often by altering the status quo an audience can receive the work differently. This refreshing change of backdrop, with warm toned wooden furniture also has the effect of perceiving the pictures in a more domestic setting. Measuring the space is the first essential step to establish what will fit comfortably in the space. 

 Lanscape/portrait mix it up & measure

With 31 works & 15 artists to display the first task was to look at the sizes  & see which were the largest works – where they would be best placed in order to utilize there size within the whole exhibit. 

So Helén's work goes up in 
the middle of the left wall 

The larger works of course are apt to stand out, so hanging the largest works first sets up the balance for the rest of the display. 
Then the scale can be played with...

Anne Leigniel's work on the right wall

By hanging the smallest works at the furthest point emphasises the depth of the room even more - encouraging the viewer to come further into the room and stand closer to the smaller work in order to look at it at its optimum distance. 

Make it bold

The height can also be played with, by stacking one work above another.

Sketch it out

As a visual person I find that a combination of scaled drawings & placing the works themselves against the wall to see how well they fit in the space is the best way to realise your vision. Planning a wall can take a lot of measuring, but well worth it. 

The spaces in between works if too large or small can ruin the flow of the exhibition. When done right you barely notice the curation. Bad curation stands out a mile. 

I think back over the best shows I've seen & invariably the best curated shows not only make a greater impact but also encourage you to look at each & every work. 

Variety adds to the interest of the work 
playing with horizontal & vertical lines

If placed badly your interest can be lost or works missed all together. I have seen works obstructed by pillars, other objects like plinth's in the way so that I couldn't get close enough to see the detail of a picture on display behind it. 

A painting is not painted at this angle so why hang it so?

A little trick if a picture has to be hung from a rail - to stop it hanging forward, put a slice of cork behind it so it doesn't lean forward. Alter the width of the cork for the deisred effect. The weight of the picture will hold it place. The cork doesn't slip. You can buy these things but  just save your corks & voila! A painting is not painted at this angle so why hang it so?

Already the depth of the space is accentuated by the size
 of the works in relation to the space

It's always good to 'walk the show' as if you are a visitor. Walk in & go left, right, clockwise, anti-clockwise to see if anything is lost or not given the space it deserves. The size of a space needn't be a negative if the show is well thought through. 

My most recent planning has been off site for Unseen. To plan the walls each work was printed to scale (nothing fancy) with a wall made to scale out of paper. I prefer to use 10cm as 1 meter as it's a nice size to fit on a table. Then with the images cut out they can be moved around & visualised pre-hang. 

Of course there may be minor changes on the day, but this prep is really invaluable, especially for a fair when there is a limit to the time you may have to hang your walls. Last year we had the whole space hung in 3 & 1/2 hours! Not bad. 

Then presentation, clean clear labels - or in the case of the Summer Salon - numbers to label the works in a more subtle way giving the works more space on the wall. With photography I am dismayed when labels do not give all the appropriate info. I went to a very large exhibit recently which did not disclose either the type of print or if it were a vintage, modern or exhibition print. Some looked like they were there for context & not originals at all. This in my opinion is unforgivable. 

If the info isn't displayed with the work it needs to be available to the audience wether it is for sale or not. I always include the following info if possible, either on the label or available if asked for so as not to overload a label with too much text: I've put the bare minimum in bold.

Name of artist/photographer
Title of work: Either italicised or 'like this'
Date taken/made
Date printed/made
Edition - 1 of 5 or 1/5 or #2 from an edition of 5 for example
Type of print/medium: Archival inkjet print on ***paper / C-type etc... NEVER giclée (see previous rants for why)
Price: Either + VAT / excluding VAT / inclusive price outright

Occasionally the series may be mentioned or the other sizes available - but usually this is obvious or is on other hand-out materials/leaflets.  

It's the finishing touches that make a space pleasant to be in, wether that be a bunch of flowers on the desk or comfortable seating & space to move around in. 
Model planning

The next show at L A Noble Gallery is In Paradiso by the wonderful Deborah Baker & in order to work out the way in which her large & small works would be displayed a model of the whole space was made. We even have furniture to really get a sense of scale. (Thanks Emily) 

The hang will be dramatic, I can barely wait! Watch this space for more pics. In the meantime see the website, Facebook, Twitter or the gallery Twitter for updates...see you at Maybe A Vole or in Amsterdam soon!

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