Exhibition: Juliette Blightman – Extimacy, Kunsthalle Bern

Today I went to the newly opened exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (24 September – 13 November 2016). Available from: http://www.kunsthalle-bern.ch/eng/extimacy.

Images (drawings, paintings, photographs) as a visual diary.

Room 2: Cluster 1

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=> The drawings (each A5 format, each titled with the Day Number e.g. ‘Day 193,2016‘ top left) do show daily and unspectacular objects and scenes. Some reminded me of some exercises on interior I did during this course unit. Fine line drawings, outlines only indicating an insight, leaving a feeling of voyeurism with at the same time a certain distance, overwhelming. For me this reflects somehow the prolific expansion of daily images on the internet.

Room 6: Cluster 2

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=> I was wondering why the color images were separated from the drawings in black (Cluster 1). The paintings were hang alongside some photographs showing a similar insight in the daily life (of the artist?) The painting are rather sketchy (watercolour, gouache?) with mostly use of primary colors.

Overall the two cluster to present a visual diary, snapshots of mundane objects and scenery. The non-spectacular is on show and this presentation brings attention and awareness to the viewer, a snapshot of a moment – like a video still of the film of the artist’s life.

Each room (total 7) were designed unique and differently. Like different scenes in a film. And actually the cinematographic influences that we are exposed to daily are somehow mirrored here. Some with living plant (Ficus Benjamin, Palm tree, Monstera), the floor of the last room with video installation was covered with a green flashy carpet, reminding of grass?

In the exhibition booklet was one page attached with a verbatim between 2:04pm and 12:12am of a recording (dialogue? monologue?) I find it quite interesting to see how certain words match elements in the exhibition rooms e.g. “it’s storming” -> a ceiling fan in room 6?, “..but plants are good for sleep” -> living plants in the exhibition rooms 2, 3, and 5., “I’m overwhelmed with images” -> the cluster of images in room 2 and 6?  Overall it seems as the memory of the artist is reflected and visualised at big scale in the exhibition rooms.

Monstera plant in room 2 with the photograph ‘Suffocating‘, 2005 behind on the wall. The title seems to be contra dictionary to the plant and that plants are good for sleep and to breathe.

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It was not clear to me whether those pictures were done from the artist’s viewpoint, self-portraits, or other viewpoints based on found images.

I liked especially the two following paintings: Uncommon viewpoints, bold use of color contrast and combination of flat at times void and areas with strong linear qualities. The bold outline at the left side of the second painting makes the figure really pop out like a cut-out collage. The first painting was part of Cluster 2, the second one was hung as a single piece on a separate wall in the same room.

Room 4: 5 very large scale paintings (around 2-3m) called ‘Still life‘ = Close up view of the most intimate and private sexual regions, the large scale just makes the voyeurism more apparent. Whether those paintings, painted rather lie drawings, are derived from photographs or from life is an open question. Perhaps interchangeable. At the end those may be just still images from a film.

Room 7: Installation and two video installation on green carpet

=> One video installation did show still images of outdoor and indoor scenes, close up views and other images that could happen to each of us during the life of a day. Between the projector and the projection wall as installed a turning horse and a riding lady, like from a fairy tale. The cast shadow was projected onto the wall as well. By that two realities were mixed together – a space where also the viewer can play a role perhaps. The other video was a digital animation film derived from one of the large ‘Still life‘ paintings. Digital technology made the paintings deconstructed into it formal shapes and projects those into another three dimensional virtual space (reality?)

Summary:

The exhibition gave me some further ideas on how different visual arts (drawing, painting, installation, film) can be combined to tell an overall story. Elements can merge from one segment to the next. The rooms of the exhibition and at the times the observer as well do play an important role in this story. Juliette Blightman exposes her visual diary to the observer, places the images in a broader context that includes the observer’s space. I got a feeling that different realities were blending together, and at some point I could envision to be the viewer of the daily scenes myself.

 

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