We wanted our exhibition to be a collaboration of work instead of just plonking our work in a room together. The idea was to swap either materials or processes with each other in the group and create a new piece of work based on this. After a discussion we agreed that the best way to do this would be to pair up with one other person in the group and swap between the two of us. The pairings were as follows; me and George, Charlotte and Freya, Meryl and Nicole.
The build up to the exhibition was centred around the conversations we were having rather than producing masses of work. Myself and George quickly discovered that whilst our outcomes may look fairly different our process and way of working were pretty much the same. Since we both make work in the space it will be shown, instead of before hand, we came up with the idea to make each other ‘kits’ of materials and objects we would typically use to create work then swap them on the day of installation. This method seemed like a good idea to begin with but we were worried that it would look like we were both trying to imitate the other person which is not what we wanted. Finally we found two racking two shelves that we both felt we could work with and would tie our work together nicely without it being too forced.
I decided that I wanted to combine both my work with food and the imagery of the ‘egg’, so I bought 45 eggs to place on and around the rack once I had put it on the wall. Although I had planned to have a couple of eggs smashed on the floor, I managed to accidentally drop one when placing the eggs on the rack so just dropped two more and left it before they all fell off. I was happy with the overall effect and liked the simplicity and precariousness of the set up.
During the private view there was (understandably) a few of accidents…
George installed his rack flat against the wall with moss compressed inside it. he also had a rectangle of moss compressed underneath a panel of glass with another panel leaning against the rack tying the two components together. I was pleased that you could obviously see a link between our work but they were also identifiable as two different peoples’ work.
I had been using the process of painting sheets of paper in primary colours using acrylic paint then cutting shapes out and sticking them on another piece of paper. As I repeated this process I changed the colours to pastel tones of the primary colours and became more and more concerned with how well the shapes fit together. Whilst this resulted in a very aesthetically pleasing outcome I didn’t like how much time I was spending on making sure the shapes fitted together.
After doing some research I realised that Henri Matisse used a very similar technique when he wasn’t able to paint due to ill health. One main difference was that he used gouache and not acrylic. Matisse also used a wide variety of bright colours and often created his collages in a large scale.
Matisse was very particular in where the shapes were placed and concentrated on creating a composition he was happy with. In contrast Arp experimented with allowing ‘The laws of chance’ to decide where he placed roughly torn squares of paper onto a larger sheet of paper. However when you look at the end result it is hard to believe that the squares just ‘happened’ to land so evenly spaced out within the frame.
Although I did stick the shapes wherever they happen to fall I did have to re drop them if they fell off the page or upside down. As I was doing this I realised it can never really be down to just chance as the person dropping the squares will have an idea of where they would like the shape to go and you can manipulate this to a certain extent depending on where you drop it from.