Monday, 31 October 2011

Engaged Response

I'm really happy how proactive and engaged the MFA students have been in A CUT and how perhaps the dialogues they instigated in such opportunities as Meet the Writer's in Residence and chairing a 5o'clock Salon carried on once they had left the confines and privacy of these sessions. I really hope that a collaborative exhibition does take place as part of their assessment. I always thought it a shame that in final degree marking in Fine Art and APCP that projects/collaborations could not be taken more into account alongside one's practice.

In response to Tracy's post, I do feel that out of most graduates from DJCAD I have a more well-rounded experience of curation and what it can mean in contemporary visual culture. I worked as an Information Assistant to Karla Black's Venice show for the 54th Biennale and in this time I met a collector of Black's work and Arte Povera historian and curator who asked me many questions about the direction my life and my involvement in the arts was taking. When we got onto the subject of my interest in curation, he said;

"Holly, do you like people?"

- "Yes."

"Do you like working with people?"

- "Yes."

"Then you can't possibly be a curator."

.... This left me quite astounded. And four months on, I don't think he's right. I think the notion of a curator is now a very loose term. I think curators are facilitators, producers, directors who enable artists to fully realise their creative and socially responsive ambitions and I hope this experience as Production Assistant has instilled the confidence in me to do this in the not so distant future.

There are many artists who work successfully as artist-curators and vice-versa and I do believe it is essential that curatorial practice becomes a more fundamental aspect of Contemporary Fine Art education, as no one can curate your work better than yourself. This brings me back to my wish that exhibition in the Cooper Gallery had been given time to breath, and that the artists had time to reflect on the immediacy of their sculptural performance, which could be conveyed in a series of dialogical, more logical outcomes for a fresh audience. 

Shadow prop cut-outs in the current Cooper Gallery exhibition

Nonetheless, what I think this project and a lot of performative-based works do is to emphasise the current obsession with documentation. The beauty of this project was its 'durational' quality, being the definable and seductive characteristic of performance art. Performance begs the questions - does is need documentation, and does there need to be an outcome? - and that is why wording was so important within this project. The performances were not a means to an end, the last performance was not the finale, it was 'Culminating' because A CUT A SCRATCH A SCORE not only remains alive in the minds of the artists, curators, team and most importantly participators/audience, but it has a life after Dundee when it moves onto London's RCA. It leaves me and Katie asking:- was the vibrancy of the week’s multiple scheduled but disorderly performances not enough, should there be an exhibition?

Sam Belinfante in the first of three Open Rehearsal's in the Cooper Gallery

Above: Sam and Bruce McLean at the City Square Open Rehearsal
Below: Bruce and Lore Lixenberg

Pics by Holly Knox Yeoman

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