Empty Exeter shops will be filled with pioneering art installations featuring second-hand furniture, graffiti and balloons as part of a now-annual festival.
New exhibitions, organized by students on the MA Curation course at University of Exeter, are designed to raise questions about post-pandemic life and our new hopes for the future.
With the collective title of Now’s The Time: Art Year Zero, exhibitions will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 19 June 2022 daily from 12 to 5pm.
At Maketank, in Paris Street, The Art of Signing Hands: a Bilingual Exhibition is curated by Emma Fearon and features the work of international artists Nancy Rourke, Louise Stern and Chella Man along with participation from students at The Deaf Academy in Exmouth. The Academy students have created the gallery’s window display, with features of De’VIA (Deaf Visualisation Image Art) and the local community will take part in a ‘Deaf Pub Night’ at the venue.
In the former Hays Travel store on the High Street Imogen Haisman curates work by Lesley Kerman. Reconstructing Duccio (2019) is a series of 26 paintings, re-uniting the dispersed panels that originally made up the reverse of Duccio’s famous altarpiece, the Maestà (1308). Kerman’s reconstruction will be exhibited in Exeter Cathedral in September, but for Now’s The Time, Haisman has curated a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) version of the project, with elements distributed around the city centre.
At the same venue curator and artist Qianling Dong’s Speech Bubbles project responds to the global pandemic by capturing people’s breath in the form of balloons which will fill the shop window. They can also choose key words to express their feelings about the experience of living through Covid-19.
At Positive Light Projects on Sidwell St curator Joe Harvey’s Campus Compost is an exhibition about systems of waste and recycling reflecting his own feelings of conscience around the systemic production of waste as a university student. Second-hand furniture will fill up the gallery space in an immersive environment.
Also at Positive Light Projects All Different, All Equal, curated by Samuel Farlow features work by Salamech, a street artist from Montpellier, in France. He was once arrested for replacing billboards with his graffiti art and is now commissioned by the Montpellier Metropole to carry out large-scale mural projects.
At the same venue Attitudes in Clay, curated by Emily Cartwright features new works by Simon Bayliss and Kate Merry. Their works are artistic responses to the questions raised surrounding clay’s relationship with identity, place, community and cultural belonging, challenging conservative perceptions.
The Edge of the Real, at the former Crew Store in Bedford Street, is curated by Anni Cheng and features work by Eva Papamargariti, Diana Lynn Vandermeulen, Sabrina Ratté, Anna Sophie de Vries, Chris Dorland and Jeremy Couillard. Their work asks questions about how we orientate ourselves in virtual worlds, and will be simultaneously live streaming on the Daata.art digital platform.
Programme Director Professor Tom Trevor said: “In the wake of the pandemic, this year’s cohort of MA Curation students have been on an amazing journey – in person – attending international exhibitions and art fairs, visiting museums and auction houses, taking up a six-week ‘art writing’ residency at Camden Art Centre in London, then undertaking their internships with host institutions ranging from The Box in Plymouth to Sketch, London, to Sharjah Art Foundation in the UAE.
“As the culmination of this journey the students have the opportunity to curate their own exhibitions. In order to realise these projects, we have been assisted by a whole range of partners, both from within the University and externally, and we are extremely grateful for this incredible support. My co-lecturer on the MA, Josie Cockram, and I are excited to see the outcomes of this intense year, and congratulate all the students on their sheer ingenuity, commitment and hard work in realising their curatorial ideas.”
More information can be seen at nowsthetime.art.