Many exhibitions I have visited have vitrines. These have tended to have items, usually artefacts, which contribute to the understanding of certain elements of the exhibition.
I felt I had enough to sustain the letter contents in the exhibition, but not enough to explain / elucidate the plant references. My initial idea was to have the nature element in the second cell which was going to be screening the video.
On inspection, when the lights were out in the screening room, there was no chance that people could see what was in the vitrine or on the images of the botanicals which I was going to hang on the walls. I therefore decided to put the dyes, the dried plants, the minerals and the images of the botanicals in the vitrine against the wall between the 2 cell doors with an interpretation next to it.
Most vitrines are flat and rectangular and I could have put the images on the base and then everything else on top but I did not think that was going to be very effective.
On 8th March, 2019, I went to the Flexible Photography symposium at University College Falmouth. The last key note speaker was Charlotte Cotton who was talking about her “Public private Secret: On photography and the configuration of self” exhibition. The shape of the vitrine in her installation stuck with me and that is what I asked my husband to make. I based the measurements on a model I had made for my maquette. On reflection, I felt the it would have been too high so I shortened the legs.
The vitrine was to house all the elements for my botanical dye paintings and, if you stood just outside the cell door, you could see both:
Because the glass is at 45 degrees, the lights do not reflect off it as it would have done had it been flat. Reflecting light in gallery displays is one of my bugbears – technology has advanced exponentially – why can’t galleries invest in non-reflective surfaces?
The drape bearing the image of the Winter Field Maple leaf motif, is a product of the work behind the dye-making.
A grid of the elements in the vitrine used in the exhibition “One Year”: