Even though I have curated before, this is the very first time I am going solo as a curator. Needless to add, I am enjoying it immensely. This show is particularly special because it reflects my personal practice.
Titled Rough Around the Edges the show celebrates the act of making in contemporary art. During my MA, more often than not I was both appreciated and criticized for being a ‘maker’. That is to say I like to use my hands to create objects, pieces, tangible artefacts, scrolls, sculpture, anything! If I can’t produce a physical object, I am not satisfied. It doesn’t always have to begin or end with a physical piece of art, but somewhere along the process there will be art-making in the tradition sense of the term!
With this show, I am embracing my way of being an artist. Based on the notion of hand-made, my aim for this exhibition has been to look for artists who have spent significant time in arriving at the final material used to resolve their work while engaging with the process of making. Each artist in this group has painstakingly put together their piece(s), be it through hammering, connecting, layering, building or projecting their physical being on to their creation.
Furthermore, the current state of Hanmi gallery has been inspiring. The derelict interior architecture of this Central London gallery has a rustic and mortal feel that brings into focus the unique human quality of handmade as opposed to the slick machine or computer generated work of today. Advocating great significance to skill, the work in this exhibition is as much about the process of making as it is about the content. Materiality takes centre stage as the physical effort that has gone into the making comes to the fore as a subject just as important as the concept that drives the artist’s practice.
Quite often, to conceive an idea is sufficient and making a physical, tangible piece is secondary; technicians are involved, notes shared while engagement, materiality and personal skill are allotted a back seat. This show aims to address the craft versus concept hierarchy as the pieces included exhibit critical thinking via the action and labour that has contributed to the materialization of the work. As an ode to the artists of yesteryears, the artists in this group show recognise the importance of manual labour, skill and the act of making in art. Extrapolating from the technical expertise of the artists of bygone times, this group show will emphasise the careful deliberation on construction and materiality as a means of acknowledging craft and skill as a mandatory element of contemporary art.
The above statement is just the first off my checklist – Theme of exhibition. Check.
One down, plenty more to go.