Sunday, 22 January 2012

Contrasting exhibition experiences

Nottingham is playing host to two exhibitions at the moment both by artists which I thought I had to see and whose work needs no introducing.

Firstly at Nottingham Castle the main exhibition hall is showing work by Anish Kapoor.  For more information have a look at his website, and that of Nottingham Castle. I have been to a couple of his larger pieces, such as the one in the turbine hall at the Tate Modern in 2002 -2003 and Nottingham has a permanent Sky Mirror in front of the Playhouse. So I was expecting to be presented with a sense of the broad spectrum and impact that his work usually creates in the viewer.
Unfortunately not.
In any exhibition there will be pieces which you find more affecting or impressive than others, that I expected. I was disappointed however with the lack of sense of who Anish Kapoor is and the importance of his work in the world today. I suspect that if a visitor knew nothing about him before, they would not be inspired to learn more or to seek his work out at other venues, a shame.

By contrast I went from Nottingham Castle to the Djanogly Centre at Nottingham University to see the Lowry exhibition. And thank goodness I did.
Obviously this was all wall based, 2D and much more traditional than Anish Kapoor, but the effect of the exhibition on my understanding of Lowry and his work was immense. A huge number of works from all periods in his life, sketches, development drawing and very good information at the side of each picture discussing the piece, Lowry's life at the time, how the pieces were constructed etc. etc. in clear, informative language.

It was interesting that the Castle was quiet, relatively few people at the exhibtion whereas the Djanogly centre was heaving, they had over 1000 visitors on the day I was there and have extended their opening times for the last few weekends of the exhibition!

Now I know there are other factors here - it costs £5.00 per head to get into the Castle and contemporary work is often less popular than the 'traditional' names, but some of it must surely have been word of mouth about the breadth and quality of the Lowry show.

So I am now looking forward to the next exhibtion at the Djanogly which is going to be works by Edward Burra (starting on 3rd March).

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