The Window Space, located directly across from the Whitechapel Gallery, has been the host of a diverse group of shows for the past two years, all curated by the students and alumni of the course MA Curating the Contemporary. Over this period, we have seen a host of curatorial experiments and talented artists utilise the space for their endeavours. This year’s group of students from the Cass have similar ambitious intentions. IT IS PROBABLY BETTER TO START FROM ZERO, now entering its second instalment of an 8-month program, positions itself squarely in the centre of the controversial boundaries between the respective practices of the artist and curator. Having spoken to the curatorial trio, Antonio Terzini, Inês Costa and Matilde Biagi, I asked them how, as curators, they would tackle this expansive topic. They expressed that they would pursue this by selecting and working with artists whose body of work functions as an ongoing process. By following this selection criteria, they would be able to highlight that contemporary artistic and contemporary curatorial practices are research-based activities that are both in constant flux individually and, importantly, collaboratively. We can say what we have seen so far, and will see in the future from the Window Space, is that the unpredictability in artistic practice can inherently shape the curatorial activity.
Following the extension of Georgia Spickett-Jones’ IS IT ARROGRANT TO USE HIS HAT?, the team have commissioned London based artist Juan Crespo to display his fictional Internet archive, The Diaspora of the Line. The body of work, which has never had a physical manifestation, is an archive, created by the artist, exploring and researching the Imperial War Museums archive. It specifically looks at old colonial photographs which, once selected, are altered with a minimal geometric shape. By inserting this addition, Juan Crespo can be seen to alter the images’ reality and reveal a controversial rhetoric. Yet, what I found more interesting was what the artist thought about the progression-based process he had entered into with the curators. Juan explained to me that this work has been a pure Internet project for sometime, where the main form of display has been the classic Tumblr page, and that the main focus was on how to successfully transition this project from a virtual environment to a physical one without losing its essence.
It is interesting where the artistic practice can take a curator, as every project has a different taste, feel and experience – yet – in the case of the three curators of this year’s Window Space team, they have put themselves on a fast paced timetable of an exhibition a month and, in this, they have the potential to travel to different areas of practice and discourse, which in many ways conveys what Dr Sarah Cook and Dr Beryl Graham highlighted in their book Rethinking Curating, where it was cited how the curatorial role fluctuates from different states of being dependent on the project. I for one am excited to see what these curators will become next through the course of this Window Space program.
IT IS PROBABLY BETTER TO START FROM ZERO is a long term curatorial and artistic project taking place in the Window Space, at the Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University which started in December 2015 and will last till July 2016.
IT IS PROBABLY BETTER TO START FROM ZERO
#2.1 Juan Crespo
14 January till 31 January, 2016
Window Space Gallery, London Metropolitan University
59 – 63 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF
Private View /Opening night
14 January 2016 6.30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Juan Crespo (1987, Zaragoza) lives and works in London. He graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona, where he also studied the MA in Artistic Production and Research. He has recently shown works in Barcelona (Sala d’Art Jove, ARSM or Loop Video Art Festival), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Santander, “Biennal Leandre Cristófol” La Panera, Lleida and Festival Cine-Septiembre, Sinaloa, México. He is Co-Founder of PIL Project, presented at London Metropolitan University, and now part of the Digital Artist Residency within the Wrong Biennale. PIL Project has recently been granted in Step Beyond to develop a research project in the Russia’s new internet content law.
Antonio Terzini (1985, Naples) is a London-based independent curator and art historian. He graduated in Modern Literature and specialised in Art History. In 2012, he completed an MA in Conservation of Contemporary Art at Plart Museum in Naples and he is currently enrolled on the MA Curating the Contemporary at the Whitechapel Gallery and The CASS. He collaborated with the curatorial staff of the Plart Museum and with art institutions in the UK, such as Spike Island, Bristol Museum and Cell Project Space. He is co-founder of CommaCollective and is currently involved in curatorial projects between Italy and the UK. He recently co-curated the exhibition PROTECHT (March 2015) at Bank Space Gallery in London, featuring national and international artists.
Inês Costa (1991, Almada) is a curator and photographer based in London. In 2012 she graduated with a BA in Multimedia Arts – Photography from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon and is currently enrolled on the MA Curating the Contemporary at the Whitechapel Gallery and CASS Faculty of Art. She has done freelance photography work for names such as Fact Magazine PT, Ponto Alternativo, Big Issue Foundation and Tangram Theatre Company and is currently working as a Gallery Assistant at GX Gallery in London. In 2015 she co-curated PROTECHT at Bank Space Gallery, London, FloatArt2015 at the Bar- gehouse, London and Co-founded CommaCollective, a curating collective based in London, with a focus on contemporary art and an ambition to work with emerging artists.
Matilde Biagi (1990, Florence) is a London-based curator. She graduated with a BA in Contem- porary Arts studies at Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna and is currently a second year student studying MA Curating the Contemporary at CASS Faculty of Art – Whitechapel Gallery. She works as Gallery Assistant at Transition Gallery and writes short reviews and articles for Garageland Magazine and CUCO – Cultura Commestibile. In 2015 she co-curated PROTECHT exhibition, at Bank Space Gallery, bringing together national and international artists, exploring the relationship with the screen and the impact it has on our every- day life. In October 2015 she worked in the Exhibitors Department at Frieze Masters and, as part CommaCollective, she collaborated with FloatArt London in the curation and production of FloatArt2015 exhibition at Bargehouse.