Liverpool artwork of the week 24. ‘Changeover’ by Rebecca Key at Site, JMU. 20 June – 11 July 2008
This could well be the final exhibition at the famous old Art School building in Hope Street as the school moves to its new Art & Design Academy later in the year. So this installation is really appropriate.
Standing in the gallery surrounded by the remains of the previous show and the works waiting to be hung on the wall for the next one I got a feeling of loss for the old but excitement and anticipation for the new.
This constant change and renewal is one of the things I love about the artworld.
In this installation, the gallery is ‘dressed’ like a set to appear to be in-between exhibitions, the time known as the ‘changeover’ period. Every prop used in the gallery space is specifically placed to create a visual narrative of this ‘changeover’.
The work offers comment on an aspect of the artistic process usually hidden from the gallery visitor. The objects used have all been given to, found or bought by the artist.
The associations that we make to the objects used in the installation are based on our relative value systems. For example, the bin bag on the floor, the drawing pins and blue tack on the table, the photograph in a frame, a plant, all become the same value – they are all framed within the gallery space, making all of them part of the art work.
Many external factors and elements of chance have affected the aesthetic outcome of the work. Objects left from the previous show and bureaucratic decisions shaped the base of the work to which further objects were added. Interactions with objects made by colleagues, friends and strangers during the set up days have also helped construct the order and the way in which they are finally presented.
Someone delivering a parcel to the university came in when the installation was completed and commented ‘well this looks like the calm before the storm’, and in some ways that gave assurance that the piece was complete.
Rebecca Key June 2008