An unusual thing happened within the Edinburgh College of Art, as far as art exhibitions go. Whipped together, from start to finish, in just a few short months, a team of MSc History of Art student interns with the ARTIST ROOMS Research Partnership at the University of Edinburgh devised a plan for an exhibition. Spearheaded by Sophie Lónyay, the exhibition, which features eleven emerging artists from Edinburgh College of Art, was inspired by the work of Louise Bourgeois. Bourgeois' artistic approach, known as Confessional Art, was recently the focus of an exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery, and a large exhibition is currently on display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
The title: Confessional Art-Art Confessions. The ingredients: student artwork, student curators, and student catalogue writers. Mix well, put into the large, open space of the ECA sculpture court, and you've got a successful week-long exhibition. Curating the show was an experiment in itself, and while giving emerging artists the opportunity to exhibit their work, it also gave students in the History of Art department the chance to put knowledge into practice--something that can't be overvalued. The takeaway format of the interpretation is wonderful, and perhaps a better method of publishing than putting it on panels on the wall, since each artist's work is given approximately 500 words.
The opening was a great success. The work on display is varied and takes the idea of confessional art in different directions. Some works are literally linked to the idea of confessions, such as the diaries of Geraldine Snell. Others are 'confessional' in the methods or materials that the artist chose, like Hazel Powell's glass sculptures that contain breaths or Natasha Kemp's ghostly, suspended multimedia work about love. Frankie Burr's hexagonal box allows the viewer to literally step into a kind of confessional space. The idea of the 'confession' being something inherently personal leads to a somewhat immersive subjectivity that by virtue of the name of the show, urges viewers to connect in a slightly different way, perhaps more personally to the artists themselves, than they might in other exhibitions.
I participated in the writing for the catalogue, in which I wrote about a couple of the artists' pieces, so of course I'm rather excited about it. It's also, I thought, a good jumping-off place for this new online space of my own. If you're in Edinburgh, it's worth checking out!
Check it out on Facebook: Confessional Art-Art Confessions
ARTIST ROOMS Louise Bourgeois, A Woman Without Secrets at Modern One in Edinburgh through 18 May.