PRE* opening night (Monday 23rd April) was hugely successful with a heavy footfall that (in the pouring rain) paid tribute to the promotional efforts in the lead up to the event. Although the evening did not host much group discussion, the one-to-one type conversations between visitors and artists alike set the tone for the communication driven events of the coming days. Elisa Heikkila and Carol Sowden’s participatory installations were particularly engaging exploring audience contributions/responses to bodies of work broadening the scope of experimentation and feedback. The informal discussion was rich with quality criticism and interesting ideas triggered by the various displays/installations and became a valuable element of the programme’s process.
Common room (Tuesday 24th April) offered a second opportunity for a public exhibition opening with the addition of the consistent input from fellow third year degree students. The atmosphere was lively and vibrant as the accessible nature of the ‘Enjoy’ art space encouraged the flow of people and interaction, with some featured artists taking the work from the space out into the street attracting much intrigue and positive reaction from passers by. One visitor to the exhibition said:
“I’ve never been to an exhibition before and I don’t understand why people sit at home watching TV where everything is told to you, when you can come to an art exhibition and you can look at a piece and not necessarily understand it but you can look at it all day and find your own interpretation.” (Hell Boy. PRE* day 2)
Following the process theme, the exhibition space transformed as developments and reflection followed the opening night. Discussion groups (Wednesday 25th April) instigated much debate that often swayed from the proposed subject matter, however the relevance of the tangents reinforced the evident connection between individual practices and the PRE*/POST* proposal. Tutorials were relocated to the exhibition space and took place within the central seating area so that the critical discussion and tutor input became a background conversation to the wider communal studio atmosphere. One of the biggest developments taken from the experience of PRE* in its entirety has been the strength of the studio culture derived from the unsegregated space, allowing a visual conversation between both work and processes, that has begun to describe the underpinning narrative between the Interdisciplinary year of 2012 artist collective.
By April Suzanne Comer