Tonight marks the end of my participation in Exhibit Here’s group show, based at the Menier Gallery in London. I was fortunate enough to be selected for their group Summer Exhibition with my chocolate bar series.
The Menier Factory (Southwark Street, London) used to be an old chocolate factory, so how fitting that I was showing my chocolate concoctions. I’ve seen it from the train window many a time coming up to London Bridge Station.
A friend brought along a marvellous taxidermy hat to the opening night – a crow perched atop a top hat. Naturally the hat, being a work of art in itself, absolutely stole the show. Here I am attempting to fulfil a much-loved Marilyn Manson lyric ‘I’m not an artist, I’m a work of art’ with ‘Brandon Lee’ the crow hat perched atop my head. Yes, my publicity photos all picture me posing with a crow. (Anything to be noticed….)
Exhibiting with the company ‘Exhibit Here’ was an interesting experience (the first time I’ve ever participated in one of their shows). It was a wonderful chance to meet other artists at the private view and exchange arty stories. However, I walk away with one major gripe: for an organisation promoting itself as ‘an opportunity for emerging artists to be noticed’, none of us were allowed business cards on display. This may seem a petty predicament when faced with the fact of ‘But I’ve got my work on display, isn’t that the most important part?’
– My answer is no. A name on a sticker alongside a piece simply is not enough (no email, no website, no contact details). I’m relying on visitors’ tenacity of noting down my name and trying to follow a potential interest up by scouting the interwebs for trace of me. All in all, a far more convoluted process than had we all (at own expense) sat a stack of contact cards next to our work. Even an exhibition catalogue would have remedied this problem, but those were non-existent. (All cards slyly tucked by artists into plinths or frames were swooped upon and confiscated, as, worryingly, was any mention of the matter on their official Facebook website).
In summary, we all paid £50 per work exhibited – along with the inevitable travel and time expenses of dragging giant portfolios in and out of London – for nobody to have immediate access to our details. A very brilliant ‘opportunity for emerging artists’ to be noticed indeed (although I accept that these things are always undertaken at the artists’ personal financial gamble). Personally, I felt the main benefit to me of the show was simply as a CV-worthy experience- something us graduates are all acutely desperate for – and whilst I am grateful for the opportunity to exhibit, I do think certain things could have been handled better.The reason for lack of communication? ExhibitHere want to sell our work at commission directly, instead of giving anybody any chance to contact us personally – and although I had no darstardly plan to circumvent commission fees in this way, it makes a mockery of their ‘exposure’ promise.
Oh yes. Being ripped off by the art world? It seems a useful life lesson was learned indeed.
Have an embroidering baby crab (Yesterday was apparently ‘World Embroidery Day – if a crustacean can wield a crewel needle, so can you!) while I lug my portfolio back home and plan my next mission….