Exhibitions And The Fine Art Of Curation Anxiety.


There’s an interesting assortment of reactions and gut instinct that kick in as we get toward exhibition time (2 weeks away and change). 

First there’s the collision of art with reality. Being a photographer (read alchemist) my work occupies a nether world of megabytes and 35mm film until I perform the rituals to turn it into photographic prints. At which point you discover that there’s only so much of it that will fit onto one wall. Plus there’s that feeling of uncertainty that comes with the creation of new life- will my creations make it into the cold unfeeling world in the form I had envisioned? 

Then there’s the excitement that comes from learning new skills – I, for instance, recently cut the mats for and mounted my first print. And what’s more I kept all of my fingers during the process (no thanks to me, it’s just a very well designed machine). Next we’ll be seeing how these things fit into a frame. Baby steps. 

There’s the bizarre compression of time which occurs as you approach some of the deadlines. I recognise that one from the theatre, not to mention essay deadlines, but all the same. It’s enough to make me want to invest in one of those “Objects On This Calendar Are Closer Than They Appear” signs. 

Then there’s the confusion of expectations – I get the definite impression that in a few weeks I’ll be looking at some pictures hanging on the wall of the gallery, and thinking “Is that it? That took me eight months?” or words to that effect. The issue, of course, is that while I’ve taken enough images to wallpaper a four bedroomed house, there can only be so many winners. Tough, but there you are. It’s like editing a novel down to the essentials needed to tell the story – it hurts, but the story will be told better as a result. 

And then lastly, there’s that nagging feeling that either I’ve forgotten something important, or that something’s due to go spectacularly badly wrong……

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