Practice Exhibition Event @ Central Saint Martins

Mrdja // Nightingale // Philips // Reille // Saberova // Sartorio // Practice Event 24 May 2016

Dejan Mrdja of Studio Syn collaborated with 5 other artists to curate a mock-up exhibition of our works.  This post is going to take you through the collaboration process that led to the creation of the two different exhibition set-ups.

Our group, all 6 of us,  met up several weeks before the event concerned with how different our individual practices are. With this in mind we agreed on finding strategies that would unify our works and the way they are curated into a coherent exhibition bypassing the specificities of our individual themes and critically addressing the issues of the space that we were to exhibit in.

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The idea of monochrome as an overarching principle became a foundation, a starting point of our event and directed our further discussion. By using the visual reduction to tones between black and white we turned our works from individual, stand-alone pieces into building blocks of the show.

We next thought about how to establish spatial connections and relations between the works within the space in order to critically address it.

In an architectural manner, we considered a number of layouts of the space (spatial grid, symmetric and asymmetric layouts, hierarchical bands, etc.) and finally settled on a layout with concentric circles with individual works and other objects placed along the circle lines.

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What we found interesting in this arrangement is that the focus is not on the spatial relationship between individual objects, but on the position of individual objects within the overall arrangement. The individual pieces are therefore not assigned niches in the room, but all work together in synergy to create an overall piece whose integral parts they constitute. Think about it as a map of the solar system without the Sun in the middle. We all felt that this central positions is best left empty.

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We further developed the idea of concentric circles by introducing their tangents. Tangents, being straight lines have lent themselves better to the physical shape of our works, which were mostly rectangular, cubic, or square in shape. These tangents have then set the abstract planes in which we placed our works. By using black tape on floor and walls, we outlined these planes as room-wide frames.

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After agreeing on the first ‘anchor’ work that needed to be set in a specific location within the space, we then proceeded to setting out other works along tangents one-by-one. This is how the first set-up came about. Some photos below:

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On the second day we returned to the space and discussed the set-up with Paul O’Kane and Kate Love, tutors at Central Saint Martins. We concluded that the geometry of crossing tangents that we added to the space to manage the individual works became sufficient to deal with the space on its own.

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As a result of that, we disassembled the set-up on the third day and placed all our works together into a single location as an allegorical tableaux-cum-still life, thus freeing up the exhibition space and leaving the tangents to manage it on their own.

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