‘Daisy Lane Books’–reflection

Daisy Lane Exhibition-2

Just over a week ago, I ‘took down’ the ‘exhibition’ at Daisy Lane Books, which had been up for a fortnight (as blogged here (Planning) and here (Installation)) – time for some reflection.

  • In some ways, this was more of an idea, a concept, than an exhibition – a circular ‘completion’ of the project. It was something I felt compelled to do, regardless of the outcome – not unlike some other parts of the process such as dismantling and burning the old book. Sometimes, in the creative process, one feels a need, the ‘rightness’ of something, and so you do it. So my tutor was right to encourage me to see it that way – in some ways, more a performance than an exhibition, something that could be said of other parts, such as the aforementioned dismantling and burning.
  • Continuing that theme, what I put into the bookshop was more like an installation than an exhibition (in the gallery sense, whatever that might be!) – infiltrating the outcome of my creativity into a related space, exposing it to an audience, yes, but chiefly installing it into a space.
  • Those aspects increase the need to ‘record’ – photography’s postmodern role as a record of performance art, as in Crimp’s essay ‘The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism’ read way back in the early days of Contextual Studies). I have begun some work on a video about the project, in which the bookshop, the taking from and returning to, will play a part.
  • Some practical reflections:
      • I’ve had the experience of the planning/producing and it broadly seemed to work (for me), as reflected after the installation.
      • The few other visitors who I know, and from whom I’ve been able to get feedback, were positive (though also polite, of course!).
      • I sold one print!
      • At a very practical level, only one ‘Command Strip’ failed (on a decidedly flaky wall – the print fell down and sustained minor damage) and just a couple of prints sustained ‘fly damage’ (!!), otherwise intact.
      • More detailed planning of what to put where might have offered some minor improvements, but not sure it would have made a huge difference.
      • With a bit more notice and preparation, I could have arranged an ‘event’ – opening/preview/whatever – and that would have helped gain some audience interaction.
  • This is a complex project to ‘explain’, with many layers that are more or less impossible to fully communicate (not that this is so unusual or a major problem). It is work that can be presented in several ways, exploiting several different layers. It would have been asking too much of a bookshop installation for its visitors to have been able to take on board much of that complexity. A larger, more ‘formally-housed’ exhibition has more potential – but I nonetheless need to be wary of trying to do too much.

On the latter point, I am getting closer, painful step by painful step, to finalising date/location for such an exhibition – more to come on that, and the video, when I can.

Exhibition opens

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So, everything set up yesterday afternoon (apart from forgetting to put the price labels on my prints for sale – Doh!) and the exhibition officially opened this morning. Fortunately I managed to fight my way through the queues to take a few installation shots!

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And we took advantage of every nook and cranny to display the images …

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… and the poster is on display outside, too.

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A step taken …!

Planning & Preparation for ‘Daisy Lane Books’

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Have spent a lot of time over the last 2-3 weeks getting everything ready for the return of ‘New Photographic Chemistry’ to its origins – Daisy Lane Books shop. This colourful piece of ‘artwork’ that I have designed myself is now being displayed as posters in a couple of locations in town and as A5 ‘flyers’ at three suitable premises. It will also, by Friday, be outside the bookshop, at around A1 size on a display board (printed in four parts). My idea was to produce something that encapsulates something of the ‘story’, displays some of the colourful images in a way that might intrigue, hopefully catches the eye, and provides the essential information (including the new website). I’ve also publicised it on the OCA Student website and a version of it on Facebook. Clearly, the location of the show is somewhat off the beaten track, so I’m not expecting the bookshop to be flooded with visitors wanting to see the exhibition, but I have wanted to take a reasonably thorough and professional approach – well, why would I want to do anything other – and it serves as useful practice for any future events.

The printing and mounting of the images has been time-consuming too, of course. I have around 10-12 A3 prints, and have concentrated on the most colourful of the digital constructs. Then there is a similar number of A4 prints, and I have gone with the ‘burned’ images and a small selection of those where I cut up the book. Finally, I have four much smaller images, more like ‘page-size’, of those where I produced, digitally, something resembling a highlighted/doodled page. This is likely to be more than I need in the shop but, without an opportunity to do some sort of careful measuring and planning, I figured that it would allow some flexibility when I come to ‘hang’. And on that point, I have arranged to be at the shop in the late afternoon of Thursday 30th to do just that.

I want to provide some information on-site for the viewer and have dealt with that in two ways. Firstly, I will have two identical, A3-size, laminated boards on display, featuring a modified but hopefully still valid version of my artist’s statement for the project – intended to be suitable for a more general audience. It’s viewable here PDF of display board. It may be a little ‘wordy’ but I’m hoping that visitors to a second-hand bookshop will be reasonably literate and engaged. With that in mind, I have also produced some printed A4 information sheets that can be given to visitors, and which they can take away, if they wish. These have the same ‘statement’ on them, but also a background piece about the ‘making of’ on of the images. The info sheet can be viewed here Info sheet PDF.

So, in theory, everything is in place ready for the hanging on Thursday evening.