Talking Brains: Salon Evening Kings College, Cambridge University, Thursday 8th Feb. 2018.
When Nigel Meager (art tutor for the Kings College art space) first spoke about an opportunity of a solo show I was concerned about helicoptering in the work, simply dropping it off and then leaving. I was keen to establish a dialogue, to have a creative conversation with Kings students & fellows about the work. I suggested to Nigel that for me as an artist it was important to meet and talk about what I was doing. So we hit upon the idea of combining a series of activities in the space; practical workshops, exhibition discussions and a Salon event. This range of contact and opportunity could be a chance to explore understandings about contemporary art; a chance to explore multi-perspectives on knowledge and ways of seeing.
The Salon I liked the idea of a Salon format as it could be seen as more informal and supportive environment, a gathering in a hosted space with the exhibition at the centre. The Salon became popular in the 18th & 19th century, a vehicle for bringing different people together to share insights, knowledge & understanding of the day. In France at that time the focus was mainly politics, cultural change and revolution. However, they also included artists, poets and writers to share work, make alliances and discuss ideas. In England they were predominantly hosted and attended by women, the working class and people who were on the fringes of society. These were usually people excluded from Universities and places of learning so they acted as an alternative, Bohemian, way of developing knowledge. In fact, so dominated by women were the English Salons that they were called the’ Blue Stocking Society’.
The exhibition So for the first part of the evening I wanted everyone to have an opportunity to look at the work, share informally your readings, your interpretations, and perhaps this will start the discussion and launch us into the debate. I have an informal structure and I’m happy for people to take this discussion in any direction. This collection presents a body of work in progress and is therefore incomplete. It started over two years about with a conversation with Professor Anil Seth and I have continued to look at the brain and my relationship to it and art making. I have turned this exhibition space into a brain, a space for looking inside and outside, a space to reflect in, to reflect upon, to make connections and consider tensions.
The Salon debate (This discussion was recorded and transcript will appear soon)