Exhibition (or lack thereof)
I was a little jealous and disappointed that my attempts to create a physical exhibition did not come to fruition. I knew that due to my subject matter I would be very limited with the spaces that may be available. But I expected a more professional attitude from three of the options I had in store who did not even bother to respond to my enquiries. A harsh lesson to learn but sets me in good stead for what to expect should I attempt to organize something in the future. Due to time limits my ideal plan was not practical but it would certainly be worth planning for a future option.
It would seem that almost any café or tea-room you visit has its walls adorned with pictures or paintings by local artists of varying quality. I like the idea of subverting these spaces with a controversial subject matter such as my naked portraits. To combine them with such a serene and banal setting would question why we find such horror in the unclothed male. Why is the nude male only acceptable in a gallery context? Why couldn’t we show nudity in such spaces as by censoring we are indicating it is shameful. This is not a healthy attitude to adopt in an age where body dysmorphia is fast becoming an epidemic. By juxtaposing the serene vignettes with the naked male I am intimating that his nakedness is equally as placid and surely should be viewed likewise. Obviously trying to find a willing café in Cornwall would probably be impossible but with careful planning hopefully I could rent and set up a space to copy the setting. I can also play with words and connotations as Tea Room is gay slang for a space where men meet to pick-up other men.
Even though the tea-room may not have been an option at such short notice I was hoping to display my project so far in a welcoming space; for the main reason that I wanted to gather all of the models together so they could network, meet new friends and get a sense of pride in seeing themselves as part of an art project. In the meantime I wanted to mirror an exhibition on-line so that people who couldn’t attend could see how the project is progressing . Again I return to Tillmans to inspire my exhibition layout. As with the Work in Progress web page I wanted them to flow in vague conjunctions so the reader can see several images at once and build the narrative about these men and their lives. The set-up of the web page is how I would envisage a gallery exhibition to look. So rather than relying upon what we normally expect a page of images to look like (think Instagram or Google image search) my design is a little more unusual and allows the images to stand out. Now I shall keep an eye on my site analytics to see how many visitors the page actually gets.
One last thought for a physical exhibition is that, when I printed the small versions to help with the editing and layout I realised that due to the deep colours and dark tones of many of my images; some of this is lost in print form. I may have to consider using light boxes to back light the images so they become much richer in colour and highlight the subtle details that could get lost in the shadows.