Beyond Boundaries: A Reflective Study on Production of Art Show and Challenges of Exhibition-making
(2014) Beyond Boundaries: A Reflective Study on Production of Art Show and Challenges of Exhibition-making, no. 31.
The purpose of this study is to analyze the factors that effect the production and delivery of an arts exhibition. Through the project case study ''BEYOND BOUNDARIES: Portraying Cross-Cultural Couples'' I define the structures an emerging artist must negotiate in order to independently deliver an effective solo exhibition. In undertaking this research, my intention is to demystify the process of artistic production and to critically reflect on the prevailing labour conditions in the arts sector. I collected the data using auto-ethnographic methods and used it to analyse my experience of the exhibition-making process. A particular focus of the study is on the issue of finding a host gallery and negotiations. I also discuss how gatekeepers influence the discourse of art and form the circles of recognition that emerging artists hope to break into. Moreover, I address the role of the gallery, and reveal how a chosen exhibiting style can be a statement of an art producers' intention to establish a particular relationship with the viewer. The 'white cube' gallery spaces provide one example of this: they are a much-desired way of exhibiting, not only in my area of practice, but also among other artists, curators and producers. This is because this type of space is known to evoke certain feelings in the viewer and communicates the value and status of an artwork; 'white spaces' may also function as an ideological tool that empowers the exhibited work of art. Since it is highly challenging to obtain gallery or exhibiting space, artists must develop entrepreneurial skills and the ability to look for alternative options, learn how to deal with risk and uncertainty, and find innovative ways of breaking with the conventions around exhibiting. As well as discussing these things, this study also attends to the importance of networking and self-branding in the pursuit of recognition in an arts sector that is over-saturated with many talented practitioners. This research is of use to artists, cultural policy makers, and other related stakeholders.