What: A solo, multi-media exhibition.

With: I went with 3 others: 2 OCA students and a friend.

Where: Tate ST Ives, Cornwall.

When: 12th April, 2019

Curator: Carlyn Christov-Bakargiev

Location, setting, atmosphere.

  • A vast range of items to view, feel and listen to.
  • A vast range of media.
  • Local and international feel.

-ve: the recordings were indistinct.

Example of the work:

There was so much work, some related to St Ives, some to the sea. I had seem some of it in the Artes Mundi 8 exhibition in Cardiff last November. Boghiguian makes installations specific to the area where the exhibition is held.

Sand, rocks and boat half, on the floor relates to the place
Wooden boat side rubbed down through the layers of paint.

The image above illustrates the denim sails & I learned that denim is so called because it comes from – de Nîmes, France. The motif on the red sails is the emblem of Nîmes.

The paintings were displayed in such a way that the lights did not reflect off the glass which is a first, for me, in a gallery.

The tin hut representing all things Cornwall: from the tin drums which used to sound with the soldiers going to battle, the ropes for the fishing, and various artefacts inside.

This was one of the many note / sketchbooks on display – heavy with experiments and ideas.

Highlights for me:

  • The sheer magnitude of the exhibition and all the forces of nature emanating from the artefacts on display. It reflected an exuberant vitality seldom seen in an artist’s expression in my experience.
  • The adherence to a sense of place. This was sometimes too obvious and overdone, in my opinion, but it was in the spirit of the exhibition.
  • The burst of brush-stroked strong and vibrant colours made it an exciting space to be in.
  • There was also a contemplative space particularly around the play :’A Play to Play 2013″ inspired by Dan Ghar (The Post Office) written in 1912 by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) which tells the story of a young boy who dreamt of receiving an letter from a king. The boy’s “separation and death are considered to represent India when it was under British rule (1858 – 1947).” (Notes in the information leaflet). The part I enjoyed most in this was the sense of theatre achieved through the positioning of the cut-out characters and settings inspired by props and used in terms of folk-lore theatre.
  • The super variety of sketchbooks she produced.
A page in one of her sketchbooks.
A leporello sketchbook.

What I took away with me about the work:

It was everything else except a shy exhibition. It contained enough work to keep an army of viewers enthralled for hours. The sheer variety meant that there was something for everyone to enjoy and learn.

The sketchbooks were inspirational from the point of view that they were works of art in themselves. You could see the layers of graphite and chalk and paint on each page.

The drawings were detailed and drew me in looking for the meanings of the details:

Part 1 of a triptych
Part 2
Part 3 of the triptych

Again, lines are expressive and important, much like the Jean Dubuffet “Grand Paysage Noir” 1946 in the permanent collection at Tate St Ives.

What I took away with me about me:

I could have spent all day there as there was so much to see and think about. I had seen 2 video interviews with the artist and she is as animated as her work. I had seen her work in Artes Mundi 8 in Cardiff and I was mesmerised by how she used every surface and volume of space to express herself.

It was here that I decided I wanted to fill my exhibition space too – not demurely hanging photographs behind glass on the walls, but have sound / noise / music; voices; drapes; videos and a thousand other things besides photographic prints on the walls.

It was here that I wanted to show I had life in abundance; that my ideas have life in abundance; that by talking / reading / looking you can develop a timid idea into a circus tent filled with excitement and breath-taking events.

Next steps seen in retrospect:

I applied what I had learned here to my exhibition curation three months later (See Assignment 5) All the time I was planning the exhibition, I kept thinking back to this artist’s 2 major exhibitions that I had seen and which most decidedly had informed my curation practice.

2 thoughts on “Anna Boghiguian at St Ives: first UK retrospective.

  1. I love your thought about developing a timid idea into a circus tent – you’e an exemplar for that. I haven’t seen Boghiguian’s work in the real but you review captures her for me. Wonderful!


    1. Thanks, Catherine. Her work is so vital that I come out of it a different person. She is an artist everyone needs to see at least once in their life time, I think.


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