Thursday, October 22, 2015

Exhibitions, flattery and ingenuity

Untitled - Watercolour on 450gm paper

Setting up an exhibition with other artists can be a great levelling experience. Of course there are the exhibitions where one's work is delivered and all that's required is just call to check the works arrived as planned, I don't get that opportunity too often.

Usually I have to start off by wondering how I'm going to get a pile of framed watercolour pictures (with glass) over to a venue. Usually I call a taxi to help as it's inconceivable for such a task to be done on an Istanbul minibus (my preferred mode of transport - I use the word 'preferred' purely comparatively).

When the taxi driver and I have covered the obligatory topics of politics, religion and football we usually come onto the topic of my being an artist. This can end with a request for me to give him one of my paintings. 

I'm usually flattered, it's better than not being asked. However, there's an awkward truth that, well, I'm probably not going to give an original to a complete stranger, unless he or she is very influential! I guess he wouldn't give me his vehicle if I asked, but he wouldn't see the comparison. 

Thankfully in true Turkish style a hearty slap on the back (dangerous when in a taxi) and something like 'Of course, give me a call sometime', usually suffices and I never hear anything from the said taxi driver ever again. This also reveals the sincerity of the request for the painting to start with.

Setting up at the kind of venues we exhibit at is rarely simple. They are sometimes beautiful Ottoman palaces, or galleries that are often multi-purpose. When well lit and well set up these venues are georgeous to exhibit in.  

They do however, require ingenuity, a tool box and a lot of energy and patience to set up. One can't drill holes into the walls of national treasure, so one has to use elaborate networks of fishing line, existing appendages and anything else to position works.

At the last exhibition we did few of the participating artists and I spent a while putting together twenty easels on which to place our works. It was hilarious watching us all try and piece together the wooden structures and then take them apart again and erect them properly.

I'll stop there, lots more to say on this topic.

Watch out for 'Exibitions and managing egos' in my next post.

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