Since I started looking at how spaces can be tweaked into uselessness (parade ground, conference room and studio), I have been noticing instances of this happening in the world – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not and sometimes difficult to know.
In Kati Heck’s exhibition “Heimlich Manoeuvre” at Sadie Coles , 6 paintings are shown in a carpeted, hexagonal space. One of the paintings, however, is obscured by a pillar, preventing the viewer from having a proper, front facing view.
The whole show is presented as a kind of installation, so it feels like the pillar must be deliberate – it seems they could have built the hexagon one metre to the side to avoid this obstruction. However, I can’t find anything that even mentions the pillar, let alone explain it, it is as if noone has even noticed it is there, including the press release. This one glitch in the entire show has taken away the prime function of a white cube gallery space: to present works simply and accessibly to the viewer.
There was a similar situation in Sprüth Magers Gallery. After walking downstairs I suddenly felt as if I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been. The sign said there was two rooms of Andreas Schulze’s work, however, I couldn’t tell you what his work actually was, as in the centre of both rooms was a large desk. The rooms felt like private offices. I don’t know if this was part of his work or not, as I was too scared to properly venture in. Whether this is deliberate or not, I find it super interesting.
In the Zilkha Auditorium at the Whitechapel Gallery, Liam Gillick has taken over with his ‘social sculpture’ “Prototype Conference Room” in which he covered all the seats with brightly coloured fabrics, subverting the usual hierarchy of a cinema. The audience’s attention is first captured by the seatsm rather than the film. This piece is very deliberate, as opposed to the other two works which I am not sure about. Gillick’s practice is concerned with the “aesthetics of social spaces” exploring how “materials, structure, and colours affect our surroundings and influence the way we behave”. I like how this work unapologetically hijacks both the space and the work of the other showing artists. This is what I have been to afraid to do with my own work (probably for good reason as a student…)