Gallery attendance seems to fluctuate. Often it's the same faces coming and going.
There are often adults with kids in pushchairs. And grandparents with kids. Certainly, most of the people seem
to know how to behave in the space and walk around with a reserved grace and speaking at that right kind of volume.
A soft silence broken by the murmur of critique and chatter, and the regular
sound of the various installations.
A vacuum cleaner groans to life for a minute maybe, as it sucks some kind of
vapour into a miniature twister, and in the next room long bells chime to their own rhythm. And window
The sound of laughter too.
sliding glass door. Stencilled to it's front in the gallery gold, are two zebras, hind legs kicking towards each other.
The exhibition notes inform
Nottingham contemporary is diligently staffed. Exhibition notes are offered to all who enter.
This is often accompanied by an invitation to ask any questions, and one has the feeling that such questions would be
answered honestly and informatively.
This provokes a twinge of despondence and also understanding, that of course this kind of
complicity within the institution is just a part of common practice. It makes sense that Weber is known to the gallery
through previous collaboration. It's just adds to the feeling of impossibility as to how, as an artist, one ever
penetrates this tight-knit world.
are the work of Klaus Weber, whom of course is the artist of the exhibition. I visit several times. Alone, and with friends.
The first time, by myself, I find the work hilarious and feel it's value in my day as some very funny ensembles of objects.
True, I ignore the works involving large amounts of text, of which there are several.
Of course I make an effort. It's just that it almost instantly falls into appearing like so much
text found in gallery spaces as not really there to be read but used as a cunning prop by the artist. For example,
Sun Press (Against Nature).
This piece involves the printing of a book, apparently against nature, by the sunlight,
directed through a lens in the ceiling. It's fine, as a visual joke. It just feels as if the whole thing is really
detrimental and even offensive
Admittedly this is all fuelled rather pointedly by the author's own experience of art school,
within which he would endlessly see literary texts adapted and referenced and cited, with the resulting work, in his
opinion, being not much more than illustration. And more importantly, when a student attempted to create works of
text, they were often met with tutors refusing to read these texts. It's fine.
Honestly. I think it's symptomatic of labelling a course, 'fine art.'
Benjamin wrote about this, under the term 'technique.' It amounts to the idea that one should not bastardise the mediums they appropriate.
to the idea of text in general. There is a handwritten letter, proposing an exhibition to a city council, which was presumably
refused. It is fairly mental.
Could it just be the whole 'feeling' of reading in contemporary art? It feels like a performance. I read so
that I can quote it to my friend later. Degrees are gained on the ability to say that so-and-so said such-and-such. Wikipedia is seen
as the resource of idiots. The thing is, that to deny Wikipedia the gratitude it deserves when it is a primary resource is destructive
to the system.
But the overall effect is the awareness of the self in the space. A certain respite
Visiting with one friend it is this point that he takes great contention with. For him, the gallery should be more
than this. It should be political
or something. I too, believe that it can be that. I have no problem with it offering this absurd moment of contemplation though. And laughter.
I do laugh, a lot, as I walk around, and it's good.
A tie poking out from rock. This particular piece enters my dreams that night. I admire the work for such daring penetration!
from the world in general. A feeling that is surely not undeserved. Maybe this is just the smug response of one product of the art school system.
The author here having the understanding of a certain history
And this is really little more than the feeling that the Turner prize is the product of a system which is strange
and weird and not necessarily representative of the art world, and the familiarity of words such as biennial and a telephone book like
directory of names of people who once said something about beauty or postmodernism, modernism, romanticism etc. and a painful understanding
of just how accurate all those stereotypes about art school really are, and where they're not, they're only less exciting, more banal.
That's another of those words.
within which this work and this space sits so comfortably.
The notes suggest that the giant windowscreen wipers and generated rain are a symbol, "an image of the outside world penetrating the inside of the
institution." The real penetration comes towards the end of the exhibition in the form of mold and damp that has spread over the months through, presumably
, faults, in the craftmanship. Maybe it's revenge for the cruel joke with nature in the other room. Maybe it's intentional?
Weber seems to be the first artist, since the opening of this space, to really present it with awareness. The rooms are filled
with objects borrowed from museums and galleries. These rooms have always presented work which has felt like the content of a museum, yet one has had to
approach it as art. Weber firstly presents a museum
A faulty museum. One in which little is learnt. Which is probably why it turns into a gallery space so easily.
It is only now, in writing this, that I am reading the notes for this section of the exhibition. Walking around the space I was too
captivated by the process of building the connections from the objects themselves. Trying to decipher what this museum might be telling me.
that these artefacts are in fact what Weber regards "as the 'foundations' of his art." they are objects that seem to be about the development
A development surely altered by the aesthetic considerations of the objects
of an understanding of humans. Anthropology. Colonialism. Documentary.If the first two rooms can be seen as functioning as a gallery that provides escape from reality into an alternate space of
reflection and joy in the absurd building of structural, sculptural, linguistic, graphic jokes, these second two rooms seem
by their presentation as a museum.
to be more connected to the world outside, beyond those great windscreen wipers.
And the real penetrating agent of reality is recognised for a moment as all of us, the living bodies who frequent these spaces.
These confused artefacts are the result of genuine explorations and attempts to untangle our reality and find certainties in all the chaos.
A truly contemporary word. Alive and well. Capable of stirring
To interject; "In the 13th - 14th centuries, HOPE meant THINK.
Which I think is a much more 'inspirational' definition
than 'wishful thinking' or optimism borne out of timidity. Hope was knowing; if we still had this definition it would allow for
a refreshing perspective... a more controlled awareness and (almost management?) of chaos. (also Blake)