It is time to stop making, experimenting with presentation and to stand by a decision. An opportunity to take the work out of the studio is most welcome. Putting work into a public space creates a very different dynamic to playing with curation ideas in the safety of the studio and will often lead to more ideas for display or about the very nature of the work.
It is always helpful, if at all possible, to get a feel for the gallery space during the planning stages and to gauge the local audience. In the case of the Linear Gallery, it is long and narrow as well as being a main thoroughfare. What I am describing is in effect a busy corridor! This has implications for the safe placing of work and the safety of those using the space. There was the possibility of using an outside courtyard for display. From earlier experiments, I know that the vessels can look lost without a strong, possibly geometric, element to work against and that arranging the elements ‘haphazardly’ soon looks uncomfortably manufactured.
As it stands, the courtyard feels unloved and abandoned and does not offer a visually contained area or a strong linear element which the vessels need. While I would like to see the waxed paper vessels in the open, this did not present the best opportunity. The vessels are in boxes for storage and transport and this accidental arrangement highlights the irregular grid pattern and the liminal space between the elements. I decided to present the vessels in three galvanised wire crates.
However, on the day I was persuaded to release the vessels from the crates and to display them on a wooden shelf in the gallery. This worked better than I had anticipated. I was concerned that a plinth would force an inapt feeling of importance onto the work. However, the shelf feels part of the construction of the gallery, more architectural than plinth in character. This, together with the texture and warm colour of the wood, works well with the fragile and transient appearance of the waxed paper, intensifying the tactile and quotidian nature of the materials. The structure provides the geometric element and the containment that the work requires.
Because they are light, some individual vessels, particularly those close to the edges, have fallen over. I was aware and indeed happy for this to happen. It has dispelled any element of forced orderliness and added to the overall look of the display.