Thursday 4th September 2014 marked the evening of Eye Like’s very first private view, for “Emergence”, the solo gallery show by Gina Soden. Now the question on everyone’s mind must be: was it a success? Too bloody right it was!
Although it seemed daunting arriving at the gallery that morning, knowing that in less than a day we needed to transform the space into a full-blown exhibition, by the afternoon the walls were filled with Gina’s pieces and we were stunned by how fantastically they seemed to fit within our humble abode.
Several hours later and armed with enthusiasm, knowledge (and drinks), we eagerly awaited the appearance of our first guests, and oh boy we didn’t have to wait long! There was an overwhelming response from the public, leading Eye Like Gallery to be the unofficial hotspot of Beaconsfield that night. Streams of people appeared at a constant rate throughout, meaning that there wasn’t a spare moment for the Eye Like team, or Gina for that matter!
“Emergence” not only promised to show works that are ‘in the process of coming into existence or prominence’, but the show in fact delivered this promise beyond expectations. Everyone was taken aback by the variety of compositions shown within the exhibition, but also could not believe how many of these derelict places until now have been hidden from our knowledge. Gina’s work certainly impressed the people of Beaconsfield and beyond, as several pieces since the private view have sold; spectacularly including the showcase piece ‘Krankenhaus’.
Mostly importantly however, the response to the private view was fantastic, with several people commenting on how our relaxed approach, rather than a stuffy environment, made the night even more enjoyable. Indeed, the highlight of the evening was, for many, Gina’s introductory talk and Q&A, in which they heard her talk frankly and interestingly about the process and inspiration behind her work, rather than her opinions being related by a secondary source.
Our aim for the exhibition was not only to showcase inspiring pieces of work by Gina, displaying the beauty of decay, but also for Eye Like to show how art can be appreciated within an enjoyable and energetic environment. At the “Emergence” private view, no question was left unasked, and there were roars of laughter all round; particularly nice we feel was Gina’s addition of a slide show shown on a laptop, featuring images of her behind the scenes on her ventures.
The comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere encountered at the “Emergence” private view can be summed up when half way through the night, Gina proceeded to take off her heels and walk around the gallery bare foot whilst mingling with the guests. At many places this may have been frowned upon, but at Eye Like no one battered an eye lid (and I secretly wished that the pain from my high heels wasn’t a sacrifice that I was willing to endure for only a few extra centre-metres of height)! This action shows how at Eye Like we have got to know Gina well over the past few months whilst organising the show, with her becoming a surrogate member of the Eye Like Team. Crucially though, as much as we would like to keep Gina’s bubbly character and remarkable talent for ourselves, we feel that everyone at the private view too were lucky enough to witness both Gina the photographer and Gina the person, with her quirky personality and recounting of her photographic experiences causing each of her pieces to have a personality of it’s own.
“Emergence” is on at Eye Like Gallery until 26th September, and her pieces can be viewed online by accessing our store.
If 100 people were asked to name one place they would like to visit in Rome, I assume there would be many replies of 'the colosseum' or 'the vatican', and rather a few of 'an art museum'. However, visiting one of Rome's art museums was high up on my 'to do list', resulting in my visit at the MACRO (Museo D'Arte Contemporanea Roma) headquarters.
Feeling relieved to have left the August heat behind, I walked into the MACRO with anticipation of fantastic art being showcased within a great city. Despite the quiet eeriness apparent upon entering, I remained positive as I approached the view of the foyer - a spectacular and unexpected sight.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that my view of the MACRO inevitably spiralled downwards, and the expectations given by the sight of the foyer really were too good to be true. I would like to think that within the confines of Eye Like Gallery, what we lack in size (oo-er..), we truly make up for in spirit and atmosphere. MACRO, as grand as it was from the inside and outside, lacked the friendly and lively ambience that I had previously expected.
Before you despair from negativity however, it wasn't all doom and gloom within the museum; the light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of 'Harmonic Motion - Rete dei Draghi' by Japanese artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam.The Enel Contemporanea 2013 presents this installation with the 'aim of actively involving the public, inviting them to become a part of the installation and completing it'.
In my view, this installation is not only 'completed' by the public, but in fact 'completed' the MACRO itself, giving life to a museum that seemed desperate for buzz and activity. 'Harmonic Motion' is a 'work of art, aerial sculpture, playground, colourful installation' that 'visitors can go into, climb, jump, move from one level to another, swing, and roll around in, thanks to energy waves created through the public's movements on the tense woven net surface.'
Not only did this work of art tick all the boxes visually, but experiencing the children playing within the exhibition enhanced the atmosphere of the museum, creating an energetic and vibrant space. My feet were itching to get involved (the kid at heart that I am), but the children were enjoying the 'Harmonic Motion' so much so that I thought it best to leave it an adult free zone...
Toshiko's installment, as you can see from the images, is definitely capable of brightening up any space; the vivid shapes and colours acted as a centrepiece for the MACRO, a contrast to the dull and sometimes empty white walls within the rest of the museum.
That's not to say that I have given up on the MACRO entirely - I truly believe that it had, and still has, the potential to be a really dynamic space to view contemporary art. Judging by the walls within their cafe, which featured varying types of wallpaper that have been artistically peeled off, the museum is definitely capable of living up to it's 'active, daring and fun' review by The Guardian. But as they say, art is subjective, and maybe I have just shown how the MACRO's success is truly dependent on the beholder...
Eye Like Gallery.