I wonder whether artists, left to their own devices, create the sort of exhibitions that they themselves enjoy visiting the most.
When I’ve really enjoyed an exhibition, it tends to be that I have lost myself in it. I’m not a great reader of wall texts, I don’t always seek to understand, at least not as soon as I go in. I’d rather walk round first on my own and immerse myself, taking my pace from the work…not stopping at every piece. I’ll read the texts later, if I feel I need some information.
The immersion can take as many forms as there are exhibitions, maybe provoking a dizzying colour rush, or a set of gentle realisations, or a feeling of comfort or unease or the discovery of something which makes me make a connection and see the world in a different way. I think that’s maybe the key for me…initially an experience for the senses or emotions and later a shift in perspective.
Whenever I go to Leeds Industrial Museum, that is how I feel. The machines, the buildings and the site fascinate and entrance me. The forms of the machines are stunning,
their intricacies draw me in,
the stone, the brick, the ironwork, the plaster are a palimpsest of usage over time.
I’ve spent the greatest part of my life now in West Yorkshire, the birth place of both Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, and have been infected with a deep love of sculpture. You can move around it, and by doing so, see the work anew, as the light and shadows and perspective change. Run your eyes over the contours and textures and feel them in your imagination. Look through them into their hidden depths and out to the space beyond.
For me the machines at the Museum are sculptures.
I gaze at them, walk round them, look through them.
Lose myself in them.
Leeds Industrial Museum oozes history at every turn and that’s what most visitors come for and enjoy there.
But an understanding of the past is not all it has to offer.
What I want my exhibition to do is explore another way of seeing this amazing place.
Next post: Time to get to work on the first piece…and to meet the Doffer and the Fancy!