Contemporary art meets Christmas festival
- Roughly 500 people walked through
- Seven hours continuous interaction with visitors
- Making connections important
- To have touchable ‘skin’ material (acrylic paint skin) present was very helpful – for visitors to understand what is was made of , and to avoid the desire to touch the pieces (though some still couldn’t resist to do so)
- Large variety of responses: recycling trash, plastic, ballons; angel, death (both came from small kids), fragmentation, vulnerable
- Some peaked in the room and left, some walked in and left , others walked in and around and took time to engage , and a few very interested and good talks happened; interesting observation when kids came along with the parents , parents appeared through their kids more open
- Good response on ‘Wall Skins’ especially those in front of the window with light shining through (connotations to shadow theatre)
- Wall-Skin: connotation with Batik (old Indonesian Java origin, wax-dye resist technique)
- Got a few good new connections with fellow artist (broadening network )
- nearly 1000 visitors walked through
- Feeling that my works asked too much of the audience (mostly local people from the rural area, not ‘used’ to ‘contemporary art’)
- Many followed the approach ‘look and leave’ , at the doorway, not even entering the room
- I were able to connect with a few and gave them also ideas for their own creative making (acrylic paint skin)
Some quotes from visitors (translated from German by me):
“Is this trash?” “Is this anti-art?” “I wouldn’t pay 5 Euro for it” “I don’t like to touch it [acrylic paint skin].” “What can I do with that? Hanging on a wall?” “Thanks – very interesting ” “Ideas must one have” “Never seen something like that” “What is it?”
I placed a box with dry paint skin for the audience to touch, to engage (and to avoid that they touch the suspended items). I also placed a sign “Please touch” on it. However, it need also at times also a verbal invention from my side to touch. Some didn’t like to touch at all. And some just touched the suspended items.
Reflection on my work and installation:
- Quality : I am aware that my works on display might not be at the standard that I would consider as right (seeing them on site tremendously helped me to understand that). How can I reach higher standards without sacrificing freshness, expression, looseness? Would higher standards mean to put more control into the process ?
- Reception: How to develop it further ? I still find a dissonance between regional ‘art-commodity-approach’ and global contemporary art scene through established galleries . Are theses two worlds never connected? If I am in one how to get into the other? How to connect into wider global art scene? How did others do that? Too worried ? Anxiety to miss something. Insight : the audience today might not be the audience at all who would ever buy such works. Failing? Who is my audience? For whom do I make? For collectors? For galleries? For museums? For …?
- Relationship: The works were installed based on the restrictions of site (no ceiling or wall fixtures, no tape on the wall etc. by conservation rules of that old building) I had to install three pieces in the center hovering above one plinth , suspended from a chandelier. These items were rather close to each other. Idea for larger room (Fig, 1).
- Text: I provided joining text through a flyer (english, german). Would a wall text attract attention more effectively? (btw, not many took a flyer with them, same with artist card)
- Expanding: Having tie to experience my installation site, I was wondering how much mono-ha is or could go into this. The dialogue between the wall pieces and the suspended items, simple relationship in space and embracing various moments of tension and suspension.
- Other questions: Do I need a guestbook for even small exhibitions? Would recording names, emails, addresses of visitors work in this region? I didn’t try, so no insight here. Do I need to have my residential address on my artist card? (currently just my website, email and social media profiles)