Surfaces and Strategies Week 6 Exhibition guidance / by Chris Chucas

Week 6 Exhibition Guidance

Exhibition spaces?

It’s a consideration to think about. Where I place my work and who looks at it is all part of the tryst of the ‘art’. This can be manipulated in a way for a desired effect and to also raise questions and make the viewer think. However, I’m not totally sure my practice would benefit from employing such devices. It’s important to think about the potential and the effect that both venue and audience have. 

We looked at artists who have employed these strategies within their own work, one notable artist who does this is; JR. In his Ellis Island work, he displays archival images of hospital patients, in Ellis Island NY, amongst the environment in order to (perceive?) it’s history. It’s an interesting way of looking at images in the context of time. Images that have already been taken, being placed into the ‘now’ makes us think about why that is? Looking at history as an object in the present, somehow becomes more reachable. It being more tactile makes it more real and relatable.  His primary focus shifted from the images to the experience had by the viewer. 

jr ellis Island.jpg

This has made me think about the exhibition and some key questions. Am I installing art? Or am I making an installation. They might sound similar but as Claire Bishop states from her discussion of installation art; 

‘For her, the two are separated by how the works are considered. Whereas in 'installation of art', the importance of the individual works supersedes that of the total experience, in 'installation art', there is an emphasis on the whole situation as the experience. 

For my practice, I am producing work for the community as a member of it. I mentioned in earlier posts, that I wanted to take the importance or inflated sense value of the actual object away. I don’t want the importance placed on the document, but rather what it symbolises

©Chris Chucas-CRJ 6075  May 28, 2017 Falmouth University Ma Documentary Photography.jpg
©Chris Chucas-CRJ 4766  May 11, 2017 Falmouth University Ma Documentary Photography.jpg

I am pretty certain I will use cheap laser jet prints in order to achieve this. I feel that it has close links with the community that it’s born from also. The Punk Rock community has been well known for its DIY ethics with handmade posters and zines being made cheaply in order for it to be widely accessible. 

I hope to install prints at a venue or at a practice space, it’s normal to see posters with art work there. The key consideration of choosing this space is that the work is living there while members of the community are working and using it. Bands rehearse in practice rooms and write new music, which ultimately will be played out at shows. It seems a very fitting and organic place to show the work. 

A street test outside a venue earlier this year.

A street test outside a venue earlier this year.

Other than an official opening and or inviting people to come and look at the work, it could quite easily be lost into the background, especially with it’s cheap production. I think this is perfect, it perhaps echoes my sentiment that I am documenting what’s going on. I’m not trying to romanticise a sub culture or community like many others before me have.

I’m working with an honest and sensitive approach as the main priority in my practice. I’m documenting what’s going on. I’m trying to create meaning from this subculture. I want to reveal another side to these people that perhaps hasn’t been approached as much as the sensationalism before. It’s this primary motivation that I try and make most important to me. 

There seems to be lots of photographers that deal with dramatic images and outrageous images of the earlier punk movement but I feel that there is a lot of room to address the new punk rock scene which I feel has more thoughtfulness and sensitivity at its core. 

What’s interesting to me with Ed Colvers image of minor threat, is how the general public would see it. Minor threat where a punk rock hard-core band often thought of as racist skin heads based on their looks. This raises a few ethical questions to me as a photographer. Firstly, thinking about the audience. I would probably curate different images to be shown to people who have never had anything to do with the DIY Punk Rock scene. I would also be careful of the images interpretation to audiences outside of that familiar circle. I think it’s ok to use the images of the energetic moments, but we need to think about the curation of them amongst the rest of the work, especially when I’m trying to portray these people in a sensitive and honest way.


In contrast to that I have looked at few other photographer that seem to share a similar sentiment to my approach.

Syd Shelton

Syd Shelton Specials-fans.-Leeds-1981.jpg

He was capturing the Rock against Racism movement in the 1970s

To summarise; looking at the exhibition and who its intended for, all influences the curation of images and how they are interpreted. I’m intending on making this work for the punk rock community as a member of it. Choosing the low quality and temporary feel prints, I hope to highlight the work as reflections of fleeting moments and take away any power or authority from the prints as objects. As the subjects and audience are so closely intertwined I am looking at ways of engaging the audience to be involved in the work. This could involve taking prints or marking (drawing or writing) on prints at the exhibition.