For this project, we worked as a large group of 36 to create an exhibition around the theme “Faux” therefore we called the exhibition “Namaak” which is Dutch for “fake”.
I also looked into certain artists such as Mike Nelson, Cindy Sherman, Simon Fujiwara and Sophie Calle who play with the theme of fakery within their artwork. I particularly like the work of Simon Fujiwara. Simon is based in St. Ives where he creates installations to represent a fake narrative. In one particular exhibition at the art fair in Frieze in London, Simon created a fake archaeology dig called “frozen” (Fig 32 & 33) which almost seemed real, yet the location of the installation shows that the narrative is in fact fake. In another installation called “the museum of incest“, Simon created a room where he made up a fictional narrative that he had had an incest relationship with his father. Within the room of fakery, he also embedded many real objects and memories to give the narrative factual evidence to support his claim, which is something as a group we will need to consider when creating our fake narrative for our project.
For the project we divided the group into 2 so that one group could create an artist and the other could create a curator for the exhibition which would be held in the Lift gallery within Plymouth College of Art. Our whole idea was based around the notion that are artist and curator were entirely made up but we would lead the public to believe that they did in fact exist and this was their exhibition. For this we needed to back up our idea with believable information and artwork to show at the exhibition at the end. Altogether we researched what a curator and aspiring artist would need to do this, looking at sites such as blogs, linked in, facebook and websites which would hold information on our artist and curator to make them seem believable. I was split into the group of the Curator, where we came up with the name “Jean-Michel Lizène” and the group in the artists called their artist “Cristó Santö”. For the curator we came up with his bibliography and previous exhibitions along with education to support his lifestyle as a curator, making sure the timeline fitted well and all seemed believable. For this final artwork, we looked at creating a very minimalist piece which reflected the previous artwork of Cristó to be displayed in the Lift gallery. Throughout the project, we continuously researched the role of artists and curators and how they present themselves within the working world.
The Namaak exhibition was a great way to reflect upon how we view things in everyday life and whether we should always question so called ‘facts’. Between a large group including 36 students, it was difficult making sure everyone was on track and meeting outside of college times. However I felt that communication was the key in making this project work and the use of Facebook worked well when we were unable to meet up.
Within the project I began working on creating the Curator in a smaller group. I then took on the role of editing the website which contained all the information based on the Curator himself making it easily accessible and paid for the upgrade making it look more professional and ‘reliable’ (Fig 34) . We also included information on the Namaak exhibition to give viewers more information and hopefully bringing in more of an audience.
I also worked with creating the ‘linked in’ profile for the Curator which helped to link him to professionals working in the same business. When people were unable to complete a task they were doing others could take over which worked well in the project.
When putting up the artwork for the exhibition, we were given a pile of different formulas in which to choose a few. However we came to the conclusion of only using one for more impact and to emphasize the artist’s minimalism practice. The formula chosen linked well the whole exhibition and with the complicated use of wording, it led some viewers to ask about the meaning of the words, piecing together the meaning of the formula. We also chose to make a feature wall which we got many compliments for, giving it a professional look. We also included leaflets, which went quickly, including the website address for artist and curator, and also a QR scanner which people took away with them to scan revealing the exhibitions true motive. For the opening of ‘Namaak’ (Fig 35) we gave out refreshments and Edith Doove gave a small talk on how she knew the Curator and why he couldn’t be at the opening along with the artist. The talk was planned and very believable, leading to many questions from the public who had showed up to the exhibition opening. We also held a funeral for the exhibition 1 day before the closing date, whereby we printed both the official opening and a disclosure of what the exhibition was really about. As group we walked in a line in silence wearing black and stood in front of the artwork. One person then stuck down the printed pieces over the canvas where we left them there for 1 more day of the exhibition opening for people to read. (Fig 36)
Over all, the project worked well at completing our aim, as we succeeded in getting an audience with questions at the opening and the Plymouth Herald representing the exhibition as coming from a ‘reliable source’. Time management worked well within the group and everything was completed on time, however I feel in future projects a smaller group may be more efficient at getting everyone contributing to the project and easier to communicate to everyone.
(See Appendix F for more images and information)
By Kath Howard (2013)