MA exhibition brings art and philosophy into healing harmony

  • Date

    Thu 3 Jun 21

Image from exhibition

MA Curating students at Essex have created a philosophical and artistic exhibition that comes with a strong dose of post-COVID catharsis.

The students have been working on this show since October as the magnum opus of their Master’s in Curating. Artists and scholars will combine to provide all the inspiration that you need to tend to your own inner world in the show Of Other Spaces: Gardens of Dreams.

Inspired by the philosophers Gaston Bachelard and Michel Foucault, an exhibition has emerged that blurs the limits of inside-outside. From the frustration of being stuck in the present, pandemic, city, and house come the fruits of powerfully expressive artistic minds. A disputation of the misery of reality prompts introspection.

The students have assembled an exciting mix of artworks from upcoming and established artists. The diversity of the curatorial team is reflected in the exhibition, with works coming from China, France and the UK. Notable names amongst the artists involved include Rebecca Gilpin, Jan Valik and Zhang HaoYe, as well as other emerging artists.

From expressive dreamscapes to colourful photography, the gallery will explode with colour, emotion and passion. Supporting the effectiveness of the gallery will be artist talks, an academic panel and other events.

Working through the restricting circumstances of lockdowns and unpredictable changing situations, the students have overcome many barriers. Communication was one such barrier.

Co-curator John Reed said: "Only being able to talk on Zoom was awkward at first but we came together as best we could and made what we feel is a positive exhibition.’

The curatorial team are grateful to be able to visit the gallery in person, as so much of their planning has been online. Co-curator Francesca Edwards said: "It is so brilliant and rewarding to be able to finally see the artworks that we have been discussing for months in person, and to engage with the space."

The quality of the exhibition is a testament to the resilience of the team and staff. Many great relationships between students and artist have developed through numerous Zoom calls and emails.

Artist Soon Young Lee, whose work Dreaming Wall B, is in the exhibition said: "This exhibition is a journey carrying a promise for the future. The students are the curators of tomorrow."

Art Exchange’s walls will display large scale artworks, from photographs to paintings, giving a sense of a strong presence in the room, but also a moment of introspection with smaller pieces. Accompanying the main gallery will be a specially curated room, featuring a soundscape and low lighting, for the visitor to embark on their own introspective journey.

After weeks of work in trying times, the MA Curating students are happy to welcome you to their exhibition and offer a deserved moment of peace. To stay aware of the events of the exhibition please follow all Art Exchange Social Media and visit the Art Exchange website. You can also follow the exhibition on Instagram.

You can also follow and donate to the curating team's crowdfunding efforts online.

The exhibition was co-curated by: Francesca Edwards, Harriet Furness, Jade Chen, John Reed, Joshua Mitchell, Norma Thibault, Rachel Teng, Siyuan Chen and Sophie Coutreau.

This article was created by the MA Curating team as part of their course