Saturday, 26 April 2014

interAction(s) portraits

This is the last interAction(s) portraits exhibition
Curator's reflection is a series of artworks: portraits
and a self-portrait.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Looking back at Kathrin Sonntag's I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU

Two Student Curatorial Team members, Abi Dryburgh and Lucas Battich, cast their eye on Kathrin Sonntag's I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, 28 February - 8 April, Cooper Gallery, DJCAD and wrote these pieces for Cooper Gallery Notes... Get involved with the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014

I saw this and thought of you

A fun, minimal look (sic) at the representation of objects. Inspired by a trip to a glass eye factory, Kathrin Sonntag has created a reflexive installation that stares back at the viewer and makes you question the very mechanisms by which you understand the work. Addressing the innate human need to make links and connect like with like, visual connections are taken to their most basic level – a clementine sits on orange paper, a green spray bottle stands next to a colour-matched smear on a clear pane. Plain coloured fields pepper the walls and bring to mind Pantone swatches and their attempt to make organised sense of the colour spectrum.

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014
The placements of matching pigments, colours and shapes next to objects that they recall if anything make me think about how dubious the validity of representational painting is today. When a stout coffee cup can evoke an eyeball or a flat square of brown quite clearly represents wood, what is the point in elaborating in more detail? There is great power in simplifying, and this exhibition is a strong example.

For me the most arresting work in the room is the mirror that has been masked in the middle by what is essentially a rectangular paper cataract. In a room filled with prosthetic eyes, it is a stark reminder of how precious eyesight is for those of us lucky enough to have it.

Abi Dryburgh, 
Level Four, Fine Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
Abi Dryburgh's website:

Kathrin Sonntag, I See You Seeing Me See You

During the fifth century BCE the Greek philosopher Empedocles first suggested what later came to be known as the extramission theory of visual perception. The theory was best developed by Plato, who argued on the existence of an internal fire issuing from our eyes as a visual stream (Timaeus 45b-c), which by touching objects allowed us to perceive them. This idea was only refuted many centuries later by modern science. However, even though mistaken in its physical aspects, the theory has its correlative in the way we move and focus our eyes, the way our embodied subject constructs the world around us, to an extent governed by cultural and social habits, rather than passively receiving factual information. These varied concerns are put into play in Kathrin Sonntag’s installation I See You Seeing Me See You.

This immersive installation is centered around the leitmotif of the prosthetic eye. The exhibition includes numerous references to the history of the glass eye in Lauscha, a small German town where prosthetic eyes were invented, and also home to traditional doll’s eyes manufacturers. Featuring a range of photographic and sculptural works, everyday objects, sets of display cases and slide projections, the installation creates an atmosphere reminiscent of a workshop, or rather a laboratory, that connects with Lauscha’s history.

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014
The varied composition of objects creates playful and compelling visual propositions, highlighting at times unexpected similarities. Everyday objects, such as a light bulb, a bouquet of flowers, a broom, are juxtaposed in such ways that their familiarity borders into alterity. The act of seeing (and of being seen) is put in relation with the Freudian notion of the uncanny, where objects retain a sense of the ordinary, while at the same time are distorted into something that seems foreign, unfamiliar, alien. This notion is also increased by the recurrence of glass eyes throughout the exhibition, which gives these inanimate objects the unsettling impression of having their own agency.  Frames constitute another recurrent feature, as a structure that guides the eye into certain details or sections in the installation and gallery space, which seem to remind us that much is a stake depending the angle from which things are perceived. The photographic act of framing is also recalled with the inclusion of camera lenses and a 1930s book on the optics of photography, aptly titled Das Auge Meiner Kamera [The Eye of the Camera].

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery, 2014
Monochrome surfaces, including paper, painting on walls and glass, and even projected to the gallery wall on a slide projector, seem to give a nod to the long history of monochrome painting during modernism (Frank Stella statement on trying “to keep the paint as good as it was in the can” finds its echo in an actual can of paint positioned next to a painted shape on the wall), while establishing particular areas or regions within the gallery, each with its dominant colour. These chromatic arrangements give the spatial installation both a musical and cinematic quality, highlighting the temporal aspect of the eye’s journey through the exhibition.

Plato’s proposition on visual perception may not hold as a scientific description, but in its metaphorical sense it seems to come alive in this exhibition, where Sonntag cleverly weaves a wide range of visual elements to engage us on the act of seeing.

Lucas Battich
Level Four, Art Philosophy & Contemporary Practices, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
Lucas Battich's website:

To read other reviews and watch a filmed artist conversation by Kathrin Sonntag please visit:

Friday, 18 April 2014

(LIVE) publishing, a project in response to Studio Jamming at Cooper Gallery

Graduate members of Exhibitions' Student Curatorial Team, Sean Scott and Katie Reid, announce a Call for Collaborators for (LIVE) publishing.

This forthcoming publishing project has been devised in response to Studio Jamming: Artists' Collaborations in Scotland in Cooper Gallery this summer and seeks to annotate, discuss and research the exhibition and event series of Studio Jamming. At its heart, (LIVE) publishing takes a vibrant and current approach to live critical writing, documentation and creative response to exhibitions/events. The voices that come together to form the (LIVE) publishing team will shape each issue together and potentially perform a Declaration during the 12-hour Jamming Symposium later in the event series of Studio Jamming.

For more information please see below:


(LIVE) publishing


(LIVE) publishing is a distinctive strand of Cooper Gallery’s forthcoming exhibition and event series Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland’s, 28 June - 2 August. Led by co-editors Sean Scott and Katie Reid, (LIVE) publishing will reflect upon, annotate, document and research Studio Jamming to explore the expanded notion of publishing and documentation; what is contemporary arts publishing and how can the outcome break the traditional format of the book?

(LIVE) publishing will be based in DJCAD, working alongside the exhibition and event series of Studio Jamming in Cooper Gallery. The project will allow collaborators to generate content and use a variety of print processes to create an edition of publications in DJCAD Printmaking Workshop.

This ambitious publishing project will enable collaborators to explore and develop their individual skills in a professional gallery environment working as part of a newly formed collaboration alongside the co-editors. You may be interested in applying your creative practice to contemporary arts publishing, curation or perhaps you would like to further understand collaborative artistic practices through research and reflection on a large scale art exhibition and events series.

The Call for Collaborators is open to DJCAD students and graduates who have interests or skills in:

- live writing/documentation
- critical writing
- collaborations
- performance
- publications
- screen printing/lithography/other methods of print
- working with inDesign/Photoshop/Illustrator
- reflection on the practice of key artist collaborative groups in Studio Jamming, Ganghut, Graham Fagen & Graham Eatough, Henry VIII’s Wives, Full Eye.

Notes of interest sought by 25 May 2014 for project development work beginning in June. (LIVE) publishing will be live from 23 June - 2 August.

This project will be successful through the collaborative efforts of the (LIVE) publishing team.
Each collaborator should be clear about the skills and enthusiasm they can bring to the project, as well as the time commitment they can commit to.

Please email with (LIVE) publishing in the subject line:

- Send a brief statement of your interests and details of any relevant experience related to the points mentioned above (500 words maximum).
- Include information on the time commitment you can make.
- Include your name, the course you are studying and your year group, (otherwise the year you graduated) and your mobile number.

If you have any questions or for more information please contact and see Exhibitions’ website for further information on Studio Jamming.

More about Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland

Taking its cue from the live improvised excitement of musical jamming, Cooper Gallery presents Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland; the first discursive survey to foreground the grassroots character of artists’ collaboration that has contributed to the remarkable achievements of contemporary art in Scotland. Adopting a diverse curatorial approach the project is comprised of exhibitions, a dynamic event series and a Group Critical Writing Residency, culminating in a 12-hour Jamming Symposium.

Among the highlights of Studio Jamming is the presentation of new works from artists’ collaborative groups including Graham Eatough & Graham Fagen, Full Eye, Ganghut and Henry VIII’s Wives.

Offering a vital platform for presenting and disseminating new critical writing, the Group Critical Writing Residency, edited by Maria Fusco, invites emerging writers in Scotland to produce new textual works on collaboration and collectivity. The Residency is marked by a live Group Critical Reading event in which the writers will give their work a public voice. Centered on Declarations presented by artists’ collaboration groups from all over Scotland, Studio Jamming culminates in the 12-hour Jamming Symposium that is jammed with keynote talks, gigs, performances and screenings.

Studio Jamming is part of GENERATION, a national celebration which is part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. Culture 2014 will showcase dance, theatre, music, visual arts, comedy and much more in the run up to and after the Commonwealth Games, with Festival 2014 transforming the Host City at Games time.  The Cultural Programme is a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life, and Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding.

For full details on Studio Jamming please see Cooper Gallery's website:

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Exhibitions' Student Curatorial Team Workshops & Discussions

This Semester has seen three Student Curatorial Team Workshops to support members of DJCAD Student Curatorial Team with the preparations and presentations of their projects.

Andrew Dodds, Exhibitions Technician introduced the team to the importance of project planning and how to care for and work with artworks through two workshops: 

Exhibition Project Planning Workshop & Artwork Handling & Care Workshop.

This is the second year that Andrew has given these workshops and the students have always found them helpful and informative, with the advice he shares enabling them to take on their own exhibitions with confidence.

Andrew Dodds with members of the Student Curatorial Team discussing artworks, handling and care.

In March, Sean Scott (Current Designer in Residence at DJCAD and graduate member of the SCT) and Katie Reid (Curatorial Assistant, Exhibitions DJCAD and graduate member of the SCT) held SCT Workshop: Working Through Ideas, a workshop to support SCT members to 'work through' their own ideas with the aim that members could leave the workshop with plans for their exhibition/event/project underway - knowing what questions had been answered and what questions remained. 

Set against a backdrop of images from previous SCT projects the conversation unfolded. Through advice and reflection from Sean and Katie touching upon marketing, logistics, communication, fundraising etc. and how these shape the ideas you have and help them take form, the team began discussing their ideas for a range of projects that will hopefully manifest over the months to come.

Sean Scott with members of the Student Curatorial Team discussing new projects.

Ideas shared at the meeting:

Fine Art & Architecture Exhibition:
Highlight and investigate some of the material and aesthetic similarities between selected Fine Art students and Architecture students from DJCAD that have a connection with use of concrete, building materials, structure, architectural structure/methodologies etc.
Early May in Cooper Gallery Project Space.

​WWI Remembrance Project:
Commemorate those who died or were affected by the war during it's 100th anniversary with particular attention to the community of Scone. ​Initially includes exhibition in Scone displaying works made by community groups in that area. This will be held in Spring 2015.
--- It was also discussed that there may be potential to bring some of these works into DJCAD to display alongside other works made by tutors or students. This is in the early stages of discussion. Likely to be 2015.

QR Codes:
Project exploring use of QR codes as a means for interacting with art. QR codes in the gallery/on posters to enable access to digital content online? Lots of ideas were discussed in relation to this project and how it could move forward. Also points were raised that some visitors may not be able to use QR codes so to consider how this could affect their access to the project.

Re-unification (2):
Group exhibition of works by students who first met during year long fine art course in Edinburgh. They have held group exhibitions together in the past and this would be the first exhibition in Dundee.
Possibly in September or early Semester 1.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Kathrin Sonntag - I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, Cooper Gallery until 4 April

Kathrin Sonntag's exquisite photographic installation I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, for her recently commissioned solo exhibition in Cooper Gallery, is open until 4 April. 

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
The exhibition opened in February and has received critical acclaim from art journalists and writers, as well as an excellent response from visitors.

Here are just a few visitor comments:

"It's like a jigsaw puzzle, you have to put all the pieces together."
"Your current exhibition, Kathrin Sonntag, is fantastic!!"

And Alex Hetherington wrote in Aesthetica Magazine:

"The piece consists of everyday objects including mirrors, display cases, tulips and paint all re-contextualised into an intriguing ensemble… The installation also features slide projections, showing small incremental details with a seductive quality. Possible narratives unfold in a similar way to the Möbius strip loops of Glasgow-based artist Hazel France."

Read Hetherington's full review:

Below is Giles Sutherland's 4 star review published in The Times, 20 March 2014. You can also read the text on Sutherland's blog:

Sonntag spoke to Art in Scotland TV who filmed the Preview and a mini interview with Sonntag about the show. You can watch the piece here:

Kathrin Sonntag, I SEE YOU SEEING ME SEE YOU, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

For more information about the exhibition please see our website: