Art exhibition review: 'Make this Space' opening night

29 April 2013

‘Space’ is a pretty massive topic in art to roll out as a theme for a student run art exhibition, but, if you want to plant a seed, you may as well give it as many growing options as possible. After much anticipation, ‘Make this Space’ held its opening night at Sixonesix last Thursday, and the project was put to the test. In a highly playful atmosphere, the show definitely succeeded in bringing people together to view, experience and share art. This atmosphere unified the entire exhibition, which otherwise meandered lyrically, but sedately, around the general theme of space, perhaps confirming the success of the show as a collaborative melting pot for artists, ideas and the public.

Some works specifically related to the gallery space itself, such as Deluxe Three Seated Sofa, which drew on the previous role of the building as a furniture shop, whilst allowing viewers to interpret the object of the sofa themselves, whether this meant slashing it, sitting on it, or painting it.A particularly beautiful and aesthetically reductive piece was Schapter’s Black Ink Four Sided Shape on A1 Paper, which articulated the notion of geometric space and boundaries in a series of images based on the proportions of the gallery.

Meanwhile, interaction came to a height in Felix Faire’s Shadow Paint, using the Xbox Kinect and programmed software to allow people to paint their movements onto a wall projection.This project, along with the music events programmed throughout the evening, created a blend between performance art and interactive leisure.As other performances took place, such as poetry and live modelling, the visitors in the gallery fluctuated between wandering the exhibits and gathering to view the events, creating an interesting dynamic which, amongst the whole space-related visual discussion, couldn’t help but seem like another play on the theme of the movement and habitation of people.As a result, the entire evening gained a very natural atmosphere, entirely appropriate as a platform for artists, performers and writers to exhibit their projects.

The inversion of two-dimensional space became a prominent theme, in partially-negative photographs, or etched, candle-sooted glass plates. Particularly pertinent was Lewis Wynn’s Click, which was a visual poem relating the virtual and infinite space of the internet which so many of us now inhabit.Naturally and rightly so, the architecture department threw in some under-stated gems, hopefully encouraging visitors to re-asses their built environment.

Interestingly, within a theme which implies emptiness between mass, there arose a surprising number of pieces which drew attention to the beauty of the small, physical and intimate object.Kat Addis’ All Our Treasures particularly drew on this, displaying submitted objects with specific sentimental value from members of the public.

Essentially, it wasn’t ‘space’ which was the defining theme of this exhibition; rather, it was the act of construction, creating an environment somewhere between a workshop and a playground.Hopefully this event foretells a much greater expansion of the student art scene, as the intention to create a collaborative and involving exhibition was definitely successful, but the aspect of interaction could have been built upon somewhat more dynamically.

Considering the excellent promotion, high quality of work, and wealth of ideas generated from this project, it would be great to see something even more wild next time.Or is that too student-ish a plea?

Fran Hughes