There are a multitude of issues for me to overcome when it comes to creating an exhibition for my Final Project.
I am not used to creatively laying out a body of work or the best way to juxtapose each image so the whole becomes a cohesive installation. I need to consider how each image or group of images are placed; what framing or mounting is required (if any) and the scale of each image. A great deal depends upon how many images I have in total in the body of work by the time the exhibition comes close as well as the space available to me.
I have considered in the past replicating the exhibition style of Wolfgang Tillmans. The seemingly random placing of photographs on the white walled space does not allow a distinct flow to the visual eye. Instead you are forced to consider each shot independently and how it fits into and builds the body of work as a whole. I find the use of mixed sizes, ratios and spacing to be an interesting format which could be used in my final layout. But where Tillmans’ shots are each distinct and separate – mine are created from exactly the same subject matter and with a carefully chosen tonal range throughout. This has the opportunity to highlight the fractured nature of the project and almost hints that I have visually flayed the male form to be placed on display for perusal.
As a counterpoint to this is a layout used by Rinko Kawauchi (above) where each image is meticulously placed in regard and often in line with the previous – almost as if they are notes on a stave the images flow like a tune. This heightens the ethereal nature of her image style.
Christian Marclay’s Chorus ii from 2003 employed similar sized images but all framed in a random selection of slightly different frames; this mirrors the individuals whose mouths open in voice make up the body of work – as each person / mouth / voice is unique so is each frame they are contained within. There is often the assumption we chose the format of the print merely for aesthetic reasons, but here is an example of the framing adding its own context to the display. Compare this with an exhibition of Lewis Baltz with works by Carl Andre and Charlotte Posenenske – set out in a grid formation that typifies the layout used by several of the New Topographics photographers. Placing similar images together in a grid or pair or row you are forced to compare and contrast each frame looking for the inconsequential differences. In this situation the identical frames and mounts not only become invisible as background to the photographs – they also subtly draw attention to the sameness of the subjects.
Annette Messager’s Mes Voeux (1988-91) blurs the boundary between a display of photographs and an installation in itself. Overlapping photographs of body parts meld together to create a phantasmagorical pseudo-creature whose tentacles reach to the sky. A more subtle layout would be her Voluntary Tortures work of 2013 where each image of the body of work is framed in an identical manner but the placing then creates a form that is part angel and part crucifix – bringing attention to these false idols of beauty that we are expected to worship.
Considering the idea of worship I am taken with the thought of creating an altar piece combining various sized photographs surrounding one particular shot as a statement piece. Partially as a form of adding gravitas to the subject matter…a subject which is overlooked at best or reviled at worse? And also an ironic form of worship of the older male body as opposed to the Cult of Youth and objectification of women.
How I translate this into a creative form of displaying my own project remains to be seen. I have some ‘rushes’ of various sizes to practice with so I shall spend some time sticking them to the studio wall in random ways to see if something gels.