Exhibition Essays

Number Nine

December 2002


Tim Wyborn

Projections was an exhibition involving nine artists, working with slide projectors as their medium. As curator, I have been asked to provide some words for the Enjoy catalogue, in response to the exhibition.

Words are a completely different medium to slides. As such, I would have liked the nine artists involved in Projections' to write their own response. I do not feel comfortable talking about other people's artwork, as I can only describe the work from my own limited perception. So I shall speak from my own experiences, being careful to avoid summing up the individual artists into a collective group under one united banner, ideology or manifesto.

As curator, it was my responsibility to make the show happen. Make sure that my artists gave me their work in time and make sure the work was projected. I didn't set expectations on the work I asked from artists. They were free to create whatever they wanted, so long as they gave me a certain number of slides on time. I knew these artists work well and felt they all deserved some exposure. Originally I'd envisioned a darkened gallery with its walls completely covered with projections, but I soon discovered that my finances and technology was slightly limited. In fact, I could only afford to hire one slide projector, which wasn't going to do the job at all. So luckily Kate hooked me up with Vernon Bowden who turned out to be the technical MAN. He sussed me out with projectors, built me a mezzanine to hang the projectors from and even built a machine to change the images in each carousel. So basically, he transformed this exhibition from a vision in my head into a reality. And he did it all for free. What a legend. My thanks and appreciation go out to him.

The projectors all blew up on the opening night, and one of them refused to stay in sequence during the exhibition, but I didn't really mind. In fact, I appreciate this because it made the audience more aware of the technology Vernon and I had to deal with. Projections on walls are a simple idea, but when it comes to actually making it happen, it's a real bastard. So seeing as the exhibition series was supposed to be about curative acts, I felt that it was good to expose the public to the mechanics of the exhibition. They bore witness to a manic curator desperately rushing around trying to suss the technological mishaps.

The "system" tries to separate life from art, which is why most artists aren't worth any money until they're dead.

I view Modern Art as being born from the 'art' of indigenous cultures. These cultures saw no separation between art and life, and as such, there was no 'art'. There were just people, dancing and singing and creating in order to tap into their spirit. That's why I create. To tap into my spirit. Lately I've been trying to tap into the earth's spirit. I have been leaving film outside in the rain for nature to "paint'' through the natural chaos of growth and decay. This is the work that I exhibited in Projections.

Someone once told me in a class somewhere that artists are instrumental to change within society. So where are Hundertwasser's living cities?