: Cardiff Art Museum

Exhibition: International Group

Date:26th October, 2018

With: OCA students led by OCA tutor Helen Warburton.

Location: Two positives:

a) it was all located in one building which is an improvement on AM 7 where it was spread over several venues – was funding a problem this time?

b) a wider range of discipline than in 2016.

One negative: perhaps because it was the first day of opening, the signage had fallen off in some of the spaces.


For me the work of Anna Boghiguian was the most outstanding because it summed up my 3 favourite experiences of curatorial scenography: ‘Soulèvements’ by Noémie Goudal in issue 95 of Source; ‘Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist’ by Emmanuelle Lainé at The Hayward Gallery, London, and Anni Albers textiles at the Tate Modern, London.

All three exhibitions broke the traditions of hanging the images on a wall. ‘Soulèvements’ was exciting because you could see landscapes as you experience them: one vista after another in visual layers, with the frames arresting you in your path as you walk through and past them in 3D.

Lainé’s work has gigantic photographs which start on the floor at your feet, go up the wall and take in the ceiling, confounding your spatial awareness, making you question where the room ends and the photograph begins.

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The Anni Albers exhibition curation had a novel way of linking the space with the work, and of creating a work continuum:

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In the work of Boghiguian, all these elements come together: as you make your own journey through the exhibition, you see through the sculptures and installations,

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into the mirrors’ reflections, along the floor and up the walls and so each story that you get out of the different trajectories is a different aspect of the scene.

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Everything becomes one: the worship of the meteors, industrial workers’ rights, the constructions. The complex tableaux play with layers and objects, teasing the viewer : is it 2D or 3D?

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You can only tell the difference by dancing around the objects and it becomes an installation in which the physical context and the image are one. You become a dancer in the rhythmical display and your body, reflected in the massive floor mirrors, becomes part of the image. The physical layers reflect the palimpsest of the author’s memories of being an outsider and, in participating in the dance around, through and with the pieces, you become, paradoxically, part of that experience of being an outsider.

What I took away with me about the work:

I really loved the complexities of expression which give the viewer the freedom to choose to be part of the experience or simply to be an onlooker. There is so much there that you can learn, appreciate and explore that a week would not be enough time to plumb the depths of the work. And that is all without analysing the effects of the strong colours which arrest you as you walk into the space.

The lighting, and the shadows it created, had a strong influence in how the work is seen and interpreted.

What I took away with me about me:

Colour is a big factor in my appreciation of spectacle, which this exhibition certainly was. The receding layers of information, objects: be they sculptures or industrial structures, create a theatre in which you can act, with which you can interact. In my limited experience of exhibitions, I think that this made the biggest impression. For my exhibition in July, I want to create a similar theatrical experience in which the viewer has a part to play. People will have an opportunity and space in which to reflect and write down their thoughts – hopefully the exhibition will have made people think a little differently about what they have seen and heard and tasted.

Next steps: 

Work out the details of my exhibition so that the ‘curatorial scenography’ will fully grip the majority of the viewers/participators at my exhibition.Boghiguian did not win the contest but it was for me the one which involved me most. The eventual winner, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, presented what I thought was the most poetic, pared down, conceptual film in black, white and grey that I have ever seen. The images I really appreciated were:’Smoke arose from the chimney against snow’ … ‘the colour of movement is black’ … ‘A storm of light that moved the trees.’.

2 thoughts on “Artes Mundi 8

    1. Thanks, Catherine. It all seemed to coalesce for me especially since I had just a few days before seen the other exhibitions. I am trying to madly catch up with my write-ups. I went to a super exhibition in Turin last Saturday & I shall be writing that up later on.


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