Lia and Dan Perjovschi (17th November- 21st December 2012) at the Peninsula Arts Gallery
Earlier this year I visited the Peninsula Arts gallery located at Plymouth University where Lia and Dan Perjovschi shared the exhibition space dividing the room between their exhibitions with Dans’ ‘News after News’ (Fig 16 & 17)drawn mostly on the windows and chalk wall with Lias’ ‘Knowledge Museum Kit’ (Fig 18 & 19) placed opposite and also displayed on the tables. Both Dan’s and Lia’s work share similar values of freedom and knowledge so I felt showcasing their work together worked well. However because of the huge open windows, although at time the huge amount of light was good, it could also be too blinding making Lia’s work hard to see. As well as this, Dan’s drawings also created huge shadows over Lia’s work which I felt took some attention away from the work itself. A part of Dan’s work involved participation from the audience, whereby anyone could pick up a piece of chalk and draw freely onto the black wall and when I first saw the exhibition as a whole, the wall was almost filled up which gave little room left to draw onto the wall however I feel because there were less gaps, there was less pressure on me as a member of the audience which made me feel more comfortable with drawing on the wall. Therefore I feel the state of the wall will change how an audience member may interact with it which may lead to more or less drawings at a specific time. Also, when entering the exhibition, there were many leaflets as well as other things left out on display in the middle of the room on a large table which confused me personally as It looked like information which was available to be taken away although it was actually some of Lia’s artwork which I felt could have been displayed a little better. I also feel that because part of Dan’s work involves participation of the audience and being able to freely use the chalk which was left out on the floor, this made me feel that other things which were left out in easy reach may have been interactive too, although after asking around, I found out that they had to be left in place. However, although there were some small issues, I really enjoyed the display of both Dan and Lia’ s work, especially Lia’s as I felt I could relate to it more within my own practice of science and art through the way in which she would label and organize her information and work on the walls sometimes in small timelines.
(See Appendix C for more images)
Anya Lewin- Chez Paulette on the Sunset Strip (27th April- 31st May 2013) at the Peninsula Arts Gallery
The exhibition “Chez Paulette on the Sunset Strip” is an exhibition showing the recent work of Anya Lewin. Anya’s father was the owner of Chez Paulette, a famous coffee house in Los Angeles in the 1950’s which attracted many famous Hollywood actors. For this exhibition, Anya reconstructed the cafe which would be placed inside the Peninsula Arts Gallery in Plymouth (Fig 20). The cafe replicates the original Chez Paulette perfectly with specific decor and music. The cafe is also staffed between 1pm and 3pm every day where by anyone can buy a token from the reception of the gallery for £2 in order to get a coffee and enjoy the era and atmosphere that the cafe brings. During the opening of the original Chez Paulette, Anya’s father Max Lewin and the cafe itself both featured in the detective series 77 Sunset Strip. Anya has also reconstructed her own version by creating a short film noir (Fig 21), the cafe is also used within her film making it possible for the audience to enter this world through experiencing the reconstructed version in the gallery space. When entering the gallery from the main entrance, the small cinema is located to the left, the small rows of seats and quaint room made me feel as if I had been sent back to the 1950’s and made the short film enjoyable to watch. The film was on a loop of 15 minutes so if you had missed the beginning you didn’t have to wait around long to see it from the start. Also, as the cafe was located just off from the small cinema, you could always take a seat at one of the small rounded tables and look out of the window of the gallery or sit inside and enjoy a coffee in the set of the 77 Sunset strip cafe whilst you waited for the next viewing. I felt they worked extremely well in conjunction with one another and the whole atmosphere for me was very relaxing and enjoyable. From the front the reconstructed cafe looked very real, and the way in which is was staffed added to that illusion. However, the positioning of the outside boards of the cafe made room for a large gap around the back and when first walking into the gallery space, I walked around the back thinking that there would be some other entrance or something else to see, however I was just faced with a blank white wall which you could walk around. Also as he gallery has 2 entrances, when coming through the back entrance, you would only be able to see white boards which I feel dampens the illusion of the cafe feeling real.
I feel that in both exhibitions in the Peninsula gallery, the lighting of the large windows and space impacted the display of the work differently. With the exhibition of Anya Lewin’s work, I feel the open windows brought the shop to life and made it seem as if it were on the side of the street. Also the small cinema was placed in the darker area of the room, creating a contrast of the two pieces.
(See Appendix C for more images)
Rankin- Cheka Kidogo (Smile a little) outsideLodon’s National Theatre- (December 2008)
Rankin is a famous photographer who tries to raise awareness of Oxfams work in Congo. The people in the camps have been forced to leave their homes due to the violence which has over run the West African state. For the exhibition, illuminated images of Muganga’s residents are placed on stands outside of one of the capitals busiest tourist and entertainment hubs. The stands are almost double the height of an average sized person and are positioned so that the public can walk around them. Many of the images show the children, men and women of the camp smiling or pulling faces.
“I think people have become very immune to war and conflict photography, and I thought that if I took my style of photo, which is quite emotive, and very much about the people being positive, and went to somewhere and took photos of the people there, I thought that would be a different take on how we approach this,”(Rankin, 2008)
“I liked that people were taking photos of each other next to my photos – I really wanted them to be images that people felt good about” (Rankin, 2008) (Fig 23)
Rankin wanted the public to feel positive when viewing the images and felt that Congo got very little media attention. As Rankin is usually a photographer who works with publicity, the positioning of the exhibition was crucial, and I feel that putting them in this busy area of London was a great area as there are thousands of people from all over the world who pass through and visit London on a daily basis. The images are bright and bold and draw people in straight away. Also, because the public are also taking photos of the stands, the images will be further spread causing more media attention. In terms of the location being outside, the lighting of the stands work well day and night time but I feel the stands have a very beautiful glow and calmness to them during the night. (Fig 22)
By Kath Howard (2013)