Today was the day of the freerange trip I organised. The purpose of today was to get another look at the space now that all of us are well into the creation of our final pieces. I felt this was a good use of time as I know from my own experience that lots of work disappears in the larger expanse of the exhibition space. I was hoping that everyone would consider this today.
Shelley and I went around all four walls and took measurements of the hanging spaces. As I am going to be hanging paintings it is really important for me to be aware of the available hanging space before I start building canvases and planning work. Once all measurements were recorded I then took went all around the space and took photos of everything so that every conceivable hanging or display space is photographed to avoid any surprises when it comes to hanging the pre-prepared work. This is even more important as we would not really have any access to freerange till the time of our hang.
As can be seen from the photo below there is a very noticeable power point and cable along the bottom of this wall. This effectively cuts about 1ft from the space available to hang a painting. If I was to take into account the ceiling girders then they too take up another foot.
At this stage we had not spoke about curating the space as a group but quickly students started reserving spaces for their work. This worried me as people really need to be aware of everything that is going to be shown before they start thinking where things are going to go. They also need to know what is going to be next to their own art and will it work or not? will sound and video pieces infringe on each other? will the paintings be hung together and lost amongst each other? I pointed a few of these things out and reminded everyone that we had all agreed that the tutors would curate the show, not us.
I know from past experiences that as a group we have had issues when hanging a show. These have manifested themselves as people displaying too much work and people only worrying about locating "the best" space for their individual pieces. I am fully aware that a collection of good work can be lost in the mess of bad curation so for me this is a really important aspect. I also know that although curation needs to be a group activity it does need a designated leader to have the final say on things, a manager if you will.
I would love to curate a show myself and I feel that due to the hundreds of shows and exhibitions I have seen featuring all manner of disciplines and levels of ability I would make a good job of it. However, I really feel that for the purposes of our freerange show it really needs to be curated by the tutors (Matt, Andy and Abi) to ensure that everything is fair and they have no particular attachment to individual works and their intention would be to have a good show that promotes all the work and the college.
However, I though it may be a good idea to consider a space or two as the optimum for my individual work. I had already decided I wanted to make a diptych or triptych of paintings and hopefully a scatter hang of small paintings in another area. I initially noticed that our space (which is a perfect square) only has 2 windows and all the rest is natural light. Ideally painting would be located to make the most of the natural light and this may be the wall opposite the windows. However, at freerange this opposite wall contains the toilets as can be seen in the photo below.
Obviously, most people don't want to be shown next to the toilets (except perhaps Piero Manzoni) so this is not an ideal space! I decided that the space between the two windows could conceivably be a good space as I was considering making my paintings in a stretched portrait like fashion. This space between the windows also had some kind of bracket at the top of the wall so I measured the space and found approx 250cm. This was also probably the smallest hangable space for a painting so a good guide for me to use as a base on which to plan the size of my paintings.