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Running an exhibition

Suzan Sontag

(για ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ)

Running an exhibition there's a lot to think about, A LOT, especially with the kind that you get to control everything. All you get is the dimension of an empty wall or a space. The good thing is that you can do anything with it, anything, there are no restrictions. But the bad thing is that you can do anything with it, anything, there are no restrictions!

First you need to decide what you want from this. And then it also depends on what type of space you have - a gallery space, museum, cafe, mall etc. Then you decide how the photos are displayed, how they are arranged; are the sizes of the photos all the same or different? And what about the number of the photos, the order of the photos, how they are printed and mounted? Should there be a frame or no frame? Should it be printed on art paper? And what type of art paper? Or should it be mounted on foam board, or canvas, or glass? And then, how are they going to be mounted on the wall – nails, wire, adhesives? And there's the artist statement, banners and posters etc. that you need to decide on the layout as well as the executions. Plus, you have to do everything within budget.

"Running an exhibition" Michelle Chan

Exhibition; it is like storytelling, but not as a book where you flick from one page to the next. It’s a big canvas, a space. To me it's not just about a single or a series of photographs, but the overall feel and impression of the story that you are trying to tell; the experience you want the viewers to have when they come in and look at the work. The whole package: that’s what makes people want to come and be there rather than just enjoying the work online or in a book.

Group exhibitions I've participated are a little different, all I needed to decide was the photos - size, paper, editions and mount type. This solo is my first time. Small but first. And it's exciting and also scary doing everything from scratch. References helped a little. What is A2 size? Okay it's 420 x 594mm. But what does it look like on a wall? How big is it in relation to the wall? Brain will start mapping numbers with visuals. I'm a person who needs to try different things so as to know what I want, and adjust and change accordingly.

On the day you set up, forget all the layouts you designed beforehand, those measurements, how far the photos should be apart. The real thing is completely different. It's like the photos you see on the computer screen and printed on your hand. Different. You have to tweak a little to align what's on the screen and in the real world. Experience will tell you how to link them together. And you'll get better as you build your experience.

Running an exhibition, there's a lot to think about. A LOT. And I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn the process.

By Michelle Chan


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