Exhibition Review

EXPANDED BOUNDARIES

VARIOUS ARTISTS

CSM

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Both of these exhibitions seem to contrast eachother. Not only is one a group show (CSM) and the other not, but the work produced also contrasts eachother. Gilbert and George's work is huge, takes up huge amounts of room and is not made to be practicle. The CSM MA show has the opposite effects, most of the work produced are products, even Gigi Barker's 'A Body of Skin' have physical functions eventhough they are impracticle by nature.

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The CSM show, I think, is very interesting to review because the only linking factor between all the work in the room is that they are all final products from MA students. This means that you cannot review the show as a hole but have to focus closely on each item that interests you. First impressions of the show were positive, a lot of the work by itself without explanation was quite obscure which meant that you had to fully engage to understand it. Some of the work was very visually beautiful, for example Bethan William's 'Lights, Lithophanes and Landscapes' were very striking. The level of skill that went into producting these lights was very impressive. Their display was interesting as well, by lining them up they looked very commercial, as if they were for sale. Maybe in a different setting the lights would have looked more like fine art, perhaps with dim lighting in the room and more spaced out, to make it into an insillation piece. William's explanation was unnedded in her case however contrastingly Maylinda Bhakdithanaseth's 'Organ 33' demanded reasoning. Not to say the display of hair on the table was uninteresting, on the contrast it was very engaging but the reasoning behind it was lost. The display of Williams' work makes it seem like she produced lovely practicle lampshades where as it is harder to find a practicle use for metal and hair contraptions. This show shows huge diversity in its contents however it fails to make the distinction between whether or not the work produced is for aesthetic or practicle purposes.

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The Gilbert and George show had a very finite focus. That was this body of work which explored the 'scapegoating' in our society. Namely terrorism and the impact that has had on islamic culture. This work, although very heavy in meaning, was able to be light and playful at the same time. Most of the huge graphic work which was displayed on the wall were named humerous things such as 'Bethnal Green', 'Euphoria' or 'Arsenal'. By including these seemingly unrelated titles in the actual photographs themselves it gives the viewer a branch. Instead of looking on these pieces in abject confusion, the text makes the viewer draw connections between what they are seeing and what they believe they mean. All of the large pieces are so similar in colour and (sometimes) composition, by using dramatically different words on each piece it makes them all unique.

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The mix of visual art and literature is something that this exhibition does very well. The literature and art are completely divided, the latter in the hallway as you walk in. By including this it makes the exhibition more viewable. Having ongoing large scale photographs would be slightly overwhelming and would make all of the rooms mould into one. The more white blank space there is the easier it is for the viewer to take in and understand what they're seeing. The poems also give the viewer some context which I always find very useful when visiting an art gallery.

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How these two shows are curated shows a juxtaposition from the work in both cases. At CSM there is an abundance of hung work and all of the sheets explaining the work are hung against coloured card. This is a very playful and interesting use of space because it creates walls that are not there. Its juxtaposes the work by being very playful. Although what is displayed is not uninteresting there is an air of commercial advertising coming from the perfectly packaged pieces on display. Contrastingly White Cube, being a renound gallery, is looking to sell work and it's commanded the space just to do that. Huge white walls allows the viewer to focus only on the work and takes you out of your surroundings. The atmosphere this creates does lead to that quiet and solitary art gallery feel. This feeling is contrasted by what is actually on display. The huge scale and eye catching graphic images make it near impossible to display this in anyother setting because it would compete with the background which, I would imagine, makes owning one of these unlikely. The work is very loud which contrasts to the small but very delicately detailed work at CSM. I do not believe that these pieces have been displayed incorrectly, the juxtaposition draws more attention to the art itself, which is the most important thing.

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SCAPEGOATING PICTURES

GILBERT AND GEORGE

WHITE CUBE

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