I would not say this is a very positive or uplifting blog article but either way I believe it deserves attention.
Its only recently that I received my two ceramic pieces Sunrise and Contain back from the exhibition called the "8th International Biennial of Ceramics" presented by the city of Kapfenberg, Austria that took place from September 2013.
I wish I could say the the overall experience of this opportunity to have my work selected for this exhibition was an all round positive experience however this was not exactly the case. Perhaps then the important part about this experience is just to document it and highlight the negatives and positives so that myself or other people can understand these concerns and perhaps issues that may arise from taking part in any type of exhibition organised by external curators in a country outside of your own.
- Its great to have an opportunity to show artworks alongside other artworks in a public space as dialogues and different forms of interactions can be created.
- Its great to meet other artist, lets face it we are all in the same boat and its a way in which to try to understand what is happening in the wider/global art world.
- Exposure to a audience outside of your own country. Organisers can help to promote your work.
- Shipping expenses may be covered. In my case part of the expenses were covered.
- Accommodation may be covered. Yes in my case this was covered for one nights stay in order to attend the private view.
- Sometimes an exhibition may create a catalogue in which they list your work and artist statement and perhaps their ethos. Yes I did receive a free copy of the catalogue, this is essentially good as it acts as a record in material form.
- Entry and submission of artwork/s may sometimes be free, in this case it was which I felt was really good considering that there other events that may charge.
- The artist may have to give up total control in the way he/she may like there work to be presented or promoted in the given space.
- If a theme is given in which for this case it was the work can essentially become categorised, perhaps even labelled in a certain way.
- Responsibility in safeguarding and displaying an artists work is given to the curator therefore there needs to be good forms of trust and communication between artist and curator.
- Packaging art work is very important. In my case I discovered that artwork "Contain" was broken and I only found out about this when I arrived at the private view and noticed that this piece was not on display. Weather this broke in the shipping or on site of the exhibition is hard to tell. Time must be taken to ensue an artworks safety. For that reason I sent out additional packaging to safeguard its return. A box inside a box with packaging foam seemed to work well in delivering artwork "Sunrise" back to the UK, see pictures for details.
- Communication may be a challenge if curators first language is not English or for any other reason. For me personally this was difficult, the curators could speak English which meant that there were no problems in communicating and there exhibition was labelled as an International Ceramic Biannual so you would expect this. However I found it particularly hard in getting any kind of reply when I sent emails asking for their help in order to have my work shipped back to the UK. They were very slow in there reply considering that I must of copied and sent the same email five or ten times per email to multiple people who work within the organisation. I felt from this that they did not care and this was also reflected in the way I was treated at the private view when I found out that artwork Contain had broken.
- I think you know when care and attention has been put into an exhibition just through looking and the process of experiencing. However I felt in this exhibition things were a little bit rushed as I noticed for example that other works displayed were also broken and looked like they had quickly been glued back together. So the question of handling of an art work comes in to mind and weather these artworks were handled with the highest standard. So again it all comes down to trust and communication between artist and curator.
If you have been reading this you may think I have been rambling on or even moaning and not taking the time to appreciate the opportunity that was given to me. Although it may not have been the best experience, it was an experience I learnt a lot from and enjoyed having the time to visit Austria.
However I believe there is a certain level of truth within this that needs to be told even if it is just coming from my own point of view. I think the art world can sometimes seem like this big dream were things like exhibiting your wok in another country can be over stated and hyped up.
As an artist I feel my job is to survive and carry on with what I enjoy doing even when times are tough. Exhibiting work is part of the process, like any art form it is created to be viewed, experienced and enjoyed.
Bellow are some pictures documenting some of the process of having received my work and it also gives an indication of a method of packaging.