Is it important to attend the exhibition prior to an artist talk?
In this short essay, I will discuss my experience with going to the Artist Talk – Lindsay Seers before experiencing the physical exhibition Care(less). Although it’s recommended to go to the exhibition before the talk, I attended the talk on 15th February 2020 and didn’t experience the work until 17th February 2020.
The talk featured Lindsay Seers (artist) and George Vasey (curator). Seers spoke about her previous work and influence; narrowing into her interest in the deterioration of life. Care(less) is a virtual reality, film piece which creates an environment for the viewer to experience life in the body of an older woman. The research for this piece was carried out by investigating the care system that older people often pay for and the relationship of the career and the ‘patient’.
Throughout the talk, two statements stuck with me; one from the curator and one from an audience member. “Curators care for subjects, not objects” (Vasey, 2020). This statement forced me to have a better understanding of how curators view exhibitions and that it’s more than just the physical body of work. For this specific exhibition, I wasn’t sure how much of a job a curator would have – being virtual reality, but the curator had allowed time for after the exhibition. This is important for the audience of mostly older people as it gave time to not only physically prepare to leave but mentally as the viewing was unsettling.
A woman in the audience had initially issued a negative review but wanted to experience Care(less) again and change her original statement (Audience member, 2020). This left me with high expectations; however, I felt unsatisfied by the result. Virtual reality is a new realm within art exhibitions, so it felt foreign and unknown. It is both nerve-racking and exciting; however, during the exhibition, I was preoccupied with my thoughts about other opinions, and it ruined the piece for me. I was left feeling confused and distracted.
Without attending the talk, I wouldn’t have had these previous expectations that were impossible to meet. In conclusion, it’s essential to experience exhibitions first-hand, we need to formulate our own thoughts to understand other viewers judgement.
Seers, L. and Vasey, G. (2020) Artist Talk – Lindsay Seers [Artist talk] 17 February 2020. Birmingham: Ikon Gallery
Seers, L. (2020) Care(less) [Art Exhibition] Birmingham: Ikon Gallery, 17 February 2020
Ikon Gallery (2020) Lindsay Seers Care(less) [Online] Available from < https://www.ikon-gallery.org/event/lindsay-seers/ >[20 February 2020]
Smith, G. (2019) Inside the mind of George Vasey, co-curator of Misbehaving Bodies [Online] Available from <https://georgegvasey.wordpress.com/> [20 February 2020]