After spending the last 6 months keeping a close eye on different modes of curating in London's galleries, two of them caught my attention in particular. One of them is the Seventeen gallery, which I recently visited for the second time in my life, but the exhibitions that I saw there made a great impression on me.
Here are a few photos from the previous, Memeplex exhibition that took place at this gallery. If you haven't had the chance to see it, regret it. To not lose the opportunity to see some veeeeery original things next time, make sure to follow @seventeengallery on Instagram. I do!
As in the last 20 if not more years, the white cube still gives rise to a lot of stormy conversation. There are many fans and opponents of this aesthetic form of presenting works of art, but it depends only on the curator how the audience will perceive this 'neutral' space. Will the viewer enter the room and be bored straight away or drawn into a new story? During the Memeplex exhibition, through the use of different wall colours and lighting, the gallery, which is located in the basement of the building (the entrance is from a slightly doggy street) turned into a very alien but also fascinating little world. I didn't understand exactly what it was about as I always read press releases after seeing the exhibition, but I wanted to be in this space. It was not for the pure admiration but curiosity. Curiosity and willingness to actively participate in this show, although there was no participatory element in there.
The latest solo exhibition by artist Patrick Goddard, Pedigree, also drew me in ultimately. At the entrance, I was greeted by furiously orange briefs immediately announcing that this show had some new sensation to offer. I was a bit disappointed that there was no trace of the hospital's green walls from the previous exhibition. Instead, my anti-white cube soul was pierced by perfectly white walls (I allowed myself for a hint of poetry, why not!). However, I must admit that this exhibition uses a very interesting tactic to build tension in the viewer. In front of the entrance, black and white watercolour paintings were presented behind patterned but still transparent glass.
When entering, I noticed an interesting installation on the wall at the back of the room, but these small paintings, which at first seemed 'kind of weird' because of the glass, made me stop and take a closer look at them. Finally, after I finished studying them, I approached the installation. A huge amount of unknown shapes on the wall turned into grey frogs, doing some acrobatics. It seemed as if they were all about to fall off. After all, they were on a vertical wall.
I knew that there was something more hiding around the corner. I saw it on Instagram.
However, I didn't expect that it would be a closed room. The last time I was there, you were able to stand between two rooms and see them simultaneously. I'm not sure if that makes sense, so I'll add a photo from the gallery's website.
This time, there were doors, and I couldn't see what was inside. I jumped in and found myself in a zoo. Do you know that smell of staw, animals' poop and maybe also popcorn? Well, there was a smell of straw only. But it was so cool! Once you entered the space, you were as if in a cage separating you from a big screen with a white dog's face on it and a lot of straw to sit on and even a swing made of a tire!
I'm sorry Seventeen Gallery for using your photos instead of mine but my phone does a really sh*tty job taking photographs in the dark. But here is a very bad quality photo of me swinging as a prove that I really enjoyed the installation.
And this is precisely how I believe curators should use the white cube aesthetics these days- transforming it. Nobody wants to pretend to be chilled in that space anymore and understand what the F is going on on these white walls. And at the same time, feel the gaze of the gallery staff and the weight of your clothes because you probably dressed up incorrectly for this exhibition and stand in this artificial, cold light as if you were the one performing something. People want to be drawn into the artist's world and stories.
That's why I think Seventeen gallery is doing a fantastic job! Remember that I'm saying it only after seeing only two of their exhibitions. I'm really looking forward to their next project. The Patrick Goddard, Pedigree exhibition is open until the 16th of April, so you still have some time to visit it.
Also, thank you so much, Victoria, for sending me access to the full video. I may come back and watch it again in the gallery. The smell of straw and the whole atmosphere were terrific!