Thursday, April 13, 2006

Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock

An interesting one, this. The old Jeffrey Charles gallery made a point of always emphasising strong curatorial conceits, and together with their new partner Henry Peacock (former rich kid Marxist gallery) they have embarked upon a series of “exhibitions without a gallery” that have so far seen artwork delivered by post and a film screening in Soho.

Announced by traditional invitation card, Do Not Like Do Not Dislike is an exhibition made by nominating four paintings currently hanging in Tate Britain. From 11 March to 16 April (on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays only) the viewer is invited to go along and look at these paintings ignoring “the objects, some cultural, some utilitarian that surround them”. You go along to the Tate and find a huge biblical painting by Francis Danby, a strutting poodle by Stubbs, an unknown woman by Peter Lely and finally a figure by Francis Bacon. Nothing seems to connect the paintings but that’s not the point. As the invitation implies, to stand in front of a painting with no other motivation than to experience it leads to a very particular, and strong, physical impression. You are made to reconsider your own tastes, perhaps. Certainly you look more closely at the works and I especially enjoyed reassessing Bacon in this way – it looked very contemporary and not particularly great.

But most of all you feel an enjoyable sense of complicity with the curators and with other people who have taken part in this treasure hunt through the gallery. I swear the dog in Stubb’s painting was looking at me with a knowing look, as if to say “I know you’re not really looking at me as an ordinary viewer, you are more interested in contemporary curatorial strategies than nineteenth century painting and that makes you part of the in-crowd”. Was this the perfect balance of curatorial presence and artistic quiddity?

I’ll leave you with a Zen-like quote from the invitation: “Let your mind move together with an object. Then there is the possible of real communication. To understand one another, there must be choice-less awareness where there is no sense of comparison or condemnation and no waiting for further discussion in order to agree or disagree. Do not like, do not dislike, all will then be clear. Do not select or reject anything”. Far out.


Blogger Onder Koc (Hck~D3v) said...

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4:56 am  
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Sounds like a good idea

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