in my house 3 georgina lowbridge 21/3/20
When designing this project i knew there would be a few obstacles to overcome in terms of curating. Does the art lose integrity or artistic value if i simply present an image of it, a loose projection of the artwork that merely echoes or is an essence of the real physical work. "The cushions are the essence of the chair!"
Or could i use this 'obstacle' as a way to reimagine or challenge how the art object can be displayed in a space. This project is of course a digital endeavour, so how many layers can I add to it? I refer back to a blog i wrote about Hito Steyerl's power plant exhibition at the Serpentine that i reviewed without actually going to see it. I considered the argument: can you 'understand' or relate to an artwork if you have only seen a picture online and not visited the gallery? Maybe its like watching the trailer of a film and assuming you've got the whole plot figured out. It is a condensed version of a bigger thing. In this sense, i am replacing an object (a physical painting) with a projected image of a painting. By doing this am I removing anything from it?
Is this work only 'activated' when i post its image on Instagram and is it only validated when it gets likes?
My intention was always to post these shows on the internet, it wasn't to install artwork in my house and have it just become a piece of the furniture, or for my family to see exclusively. (Though that could be an interesting idea to develop on in future shows.) My main inspirations behind designing this project were Gregor Schneider's 'Die Familie Schneider' and Obrist's kitchen project. These exhibitions were interactive and required audience participation where people were formally invited into the space. My project however, is solely defined by its documentation, its online presence, though it's concern with usurping the domestic space is the same.
The images for my project are staged. I have displayed this work and photographed it and edited it and posted it online, it is very much digital. Would it have mattered much if i had displayed the original canvasses or used a projector, because the end result is still digital anyway? It will be still be regarded as an immaterial image. You cant walk up to it and touch the canvas or the wall. But for this reason I think my curatorial choices are important. I would much rather develop this digitized exhibition as a broadening concept in itself. Much like isthisit? or the white pube's online artist residencies, Georgina's work takes residence in my house and also inhabits my online spaces as well.
Georgina's figurative paintings depict familial domestic settings. Their subject and their composition invite notions of familiarity. They are relatable. Even if we don't recognise the figures in them, we recognise the situation, the occasion. They are representative of the everyday. The sensory experience these paintings evoke in this setting then, reflect the activated function of the room. My relationship to this house is directly influencing my curating style when I consider the placement of her paintings. I am considering the properties of the room and how they are used by myself and my family. For example i placed the painting 'a christmas quacker', which shows a family sat around a dinner table for christmas dinner, in the dining room. It seems obvious and perhaps cliché, but in this sense the painting matches the setting. With the piece 'bookends', I placed it in the spare room because I felt it's colouring complemented the colour palette of the room, and its architecture mirrored the paintings composition. Perhaps the house becomes part of the artwork in this sense. It grounds the work in the space and there is a conversation that is initiated between the room and the painting. Georgina's paintings have to compete with the room's function as an inhabited space.
I am projecting the artist's version of reality into each room. It elevates the art, and perhaps by using projection, the work abandons its stance as an object and becomes more of an experience. Although i realise there is a limit to how much someone can connect with or be influenced by an image posted on the internet. Again its all about curatorial choice: what is the difference between presenting a film on a box tv or a screen as thin as paper, or a wall to wall projection, or on an iPhone, or on a projector. The difference between a physical screen, and a non-physical screen. Projecting onto a wall or onto a building. What is the difference between painting on canvas you've stretched yourself, or one you bought from a shop, or painting in acrylic or watercolour? What is the difference between an online exhibition and a physical one?
Projecting Georgina's paintings was a choice, and it influences how the work is perceived. The projections weren't to scale of the original paintings, their colouring as a digital image wasn't exactly true, and my photos of them added yet another digital layer to their viewing. Though I don't consider any of these as negatives. It is an imagined reality developed further by digitization. I wanted to animate her paintings using these resources and i felt using a projector would do that. An illuminated screen showing an oil painting that possesses its own narrative. It's texture may have been flattened as an image, but i think its presentation still has a conceptual texture to it. Projection isn't necessarily reductive, it is just alternative. It is an interesting way to present paintings and there is an abundance of room for discussion about its logistics and successes/failings.
Please take a look at Georgina's work on her site.
(review of 'Die Familie Schneider')
'a christmas quacker'