Taking its title from the artists presented, ‘Catherine Biocca, Cornelia Baltes, Rosalie Schweiker’ explores the mechanics of exhibition making. An exhibition generally only presents the finalised version of a complex process of research, conversations and collaboration, a construction of events that build into the publicly viewed show. Here, the exhibition presents production in practice, revealing the processes that precede the installation of works. The exhibition, curated by Louise Hobson as part of the Jane Phillips curatorial residency, evolved from looking at ideals of mobile and temporary architecture. While the exhibition’s concept has expanded through the process of its making, this remains a relevant touchstone in understanding the works.
Sitting in the gallery space is a fridge covered in tourist magnets from various locations - from Belgium to New York - the cumulative process of Rosalie Schweiker’s ‘the migrant workers fridge magnet collection’. Schweiker buys a magnet from every place she goes for work and has presented them here for the first time. Through its installation Schweiker’s fridge suggests other social potentials for art. At the opening preview, if someone bought a drink from the fridge, Schweiker would tell them a story about how a magnet came into her collection. Through the installation, space becomes somewhat folded, as you can theoretically journey from one place to another, and hear or imagine the story involved in how the various magnets came to be in the collection.
The cable that connects the fridge to a power unit unfurls along the floor and up the wall, where Cornelia Baltes has engaged with it for her installation ‘Pinch’. The wire extends up the colourful yellow background until an out-stretched hand, painted directly onto the wall, pinches it. Baltes’ site-specific installation plays with the existing material from the exhibition and playfully turns a utilitarian material into an artwork. ‘Pinch’ toys with the notion of a collaborative group show and pulls at the edge of another piece of work, highlighting the often-awkward process of artwork cohabitation.
The direct usage of the wire – something usually tidied away and purposefully hidden from view – is here left out to lead the viewer through the space and offers a deconstruction of the mechanics of gallery space. Another electrical cable leads onto Catherine Biocca’s ‘Deutscher Furst’, a deconstructed, lo-fi cartoonish landscape in which two dinosaurs face each other in a prehistoric backdrop. This landscape is activated when one of the dinosaurs begins to move and laughably informs the viewer they are “75 million years too early”.
Further into the exhibition is Biocca’s INTERGALACTIC SERIES #1 ‘Sputnik’, work made in collaboration with the her father, a former space engineer. The alternative timelines presented in both this work and ‘Deutscher Furst’ also mirror Schweiker’s ‘the migrant workers fridge magnet collection’ in providing alternative notions of space that stretch across time from millions of years ago, to Schweiker’s travels across the globe to space travel. This holistic approach to curating creates a relationship between the artist’s works and the exhibition space, opening up much deeper conversations about time and place.
‘Catherine Biocca, Cornelia Baltes, Rosalie Schweiker’ presents a series of works that look at production in practice, and by design has the appearance of not quite being finished, of a still evolving space, ripe with potential. The loose ends aren’t tied up, but instead left to manifest through the exhibition’s duration. Using this as a curatorial tool, the exhibition is open to multiple interpretations and allows the mechanics of artist collaboration to come to the fore.