Vera Boele-Keimer, Untitled (Spirograph III).
An interview with London-based curator Jessica Carlisle on the occasion of her inaugural exhibition ‘Unique’ at Kinnerton Street, featuring artists Vera Boele-Keimer, Olivia Krimpas and Whitney McVeigh.
What first prompted you to bring together the work of these three artists?
The starting point was that this is the inaugural exhibition and so I wanted it to demonstrate what the gallery is about and show the range of artists that I will be working with. I have known each of these artists to varying degrees for some time and to me, this was a fabulous opportunity to present them together.
Whilst often overlooked by the casual viewer, the difficulties of balancing the work of multiple artists’ in a gallery are complex and numerous. As a curator, how do you approach the process of displaying artworks in a space?
I aim to be inclusive and creative. (Just because two artists have different career paths doesn’t mean they don’t have common interests.) The works in this show and each of the artists’ practices are varied - that was the point - but essentially this is a show about mark-making.
In terms of physically displaying work in a space, I think it is exactly when the casual viewer does overlook how the works are hung that a presentation is most successful; when there is a natural flow from work to work. For me, it is simply about letting each work find its natural home amongst the others, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle slotting into place, so that the artworks talk to each other in a positive way.
Olivia Krimpas, Moving About.
We link, perhaps intrinsically, the medium of print with an act of repetitive production. What do you think happens to the status of a 'print’ when it is realised only once?
It’s a lovely contradiction, a unique print. Is it still a print? The term used is of course monoprint, or monotype, which Whitney, in particular, is known for making. As I said, the physical act of printing, or pressing, is really just a form of mark-making, so there is no reason why it should not just be done once.
Not all the works in the show are monotypes, though. Take Vera’s spirographs. As they are printed with a cardboard matrix, the plate disintegrates little by little, so that each edition one will be ever so slightly different from the next.
On the whole, we seem to treasure a unique work far more than one that exists as a multiple. What do you think about this in relation to artists who work exclusively with print?
There is a hierarchy indeed, and in many ways that hierarchy is unfounded. Take Olivia – she is an etcher, but she is an artist first and foremost. Printing is just her chosen medium.
Whitney McVeigh, Untitled.
Whitney McVeigh, Untitled.
It is particularly interesting that 'Unique’ will include two of Olivia Krimpas’ artist’s proofs. Can you talk a bit about your decision to include these?
I know, it’s a great privilege to have this insight into her working practice. Olivia spends a lot of time exploring different color compositions for each printed image. Once she arrives at an arrangement that works, that is the arrangement which she will replicate for the edition, so the artists’ proofs show this process in action. The differences are subtle but illuminating.
You have just launched JESSICA CARLISLE GALLERY. What projects are on the horizon for you?
The main focus is the series of solo presentations that I’ll be putting on at Kinnerton Street. Hester Finch has her first solo show at the beginning of April with a brand new body of work, and Malene Hartman-Rasmussen will take over the space in June, which promises to be something rather special. Each show runs for one week only so make sure not to miss them!
'Unique’ runs from 18 February until 22 February at 83 Kinnerton Street, London SW1X 8ED. It is open from 10am-8 pm daily. For more information, visit http://www.jessicacarlisle.com.