Newsletter Archive: Spring 2008
East Wing VIII: On Time
The Courtauld is often described as a maze
by visitors and students alike, with its never-ending staircases, quirky
spaces and winding corridors – one may view this as a curatorial
nightmare or an exciting mission and, needless to say, we chose the latter.
At first sight, the exhibition map seems slightly confusing, and even
daunting, but On Time is split into different sections – MicroMacro,
Bodies in Time, Flux, The Paradox of Decay, The Second Sex and Nostalgia – meaning
visitors can follow a series of different routes around the exhibition.
One of the exciting elements of working with a non-conventional exhibition
space is that there are no ‘rules’ (aside from the restraints
of working within a listed building that is used for teaching and events
at all times) and no set routes.
We confronted the often ignored back staircase concentrating on development and growth – beginning at the bottom with the overlaid industrial photography of Idris Khan, continuing to the works of Miltos Manetas and Charlotte House both of whom look at the shifting images and constant flux of the internet, contrasting with Lisa Byrne who, using pinhole photography, compresses time into an image. The work of Aisling Hedgecock, enabled us to transform the staircase into an evolving inorganic-organic object where her works seem to grow from the walls before finally reaching Su Blackwell’s While You Were Sleeping, an antique dress appears caught in a moment of ethereal transition, the mind’s eye in the corporeal world.
The staircase is just one element of a unique and thrilling show. For
the first time, we have been able to extend the collection into the lobby
with Philip Jackson’s Don Ottavio as a striking and enigmatic
figurehead for the collection – the figure’s expressive
and deathly pose introduces an exhibition that, in part, questions life,
death, and transience. The sheer variety of works (from 3D lace installations,
photography, painting, video installations, sculpture to plaster casts),
together with famous names, such as Mark Wallinger and Antony Gormley,
alongside up-and-coming artists, are all drawn together by the theme
of time. East Wing VIII: On Time is a scintillating show to
explore and working on it has been a wonderful experience.
Chloé Nelkin and Chris Craig, www.eastwing8.co.uk