Cortez Arrives (exhibition)
Curation by Mosscrop of exhibition Cortez Arrives at Herbert Read Gallery, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury 2009. The research asked how wonder, as a combination of doubt and curiosity, might act as a paradigm for the experience of contemporary art and a guiding principle in exhibition curation. The curation process sought to foreground qualities of compelling uncertainty by amplifying the felt, sensed qualities of artworks while suppressing narrative or thematic readings. The project extended Mosscrop’s interest in the affective experience of contemporary art and alternative forms of thought and attention. The exhibition title was taken from an unpublished fragment by the poet George Oppen: "Cortez arrives at an unknown shore / he is absolutely lost / and he is enraptured." The show included painting, sculpture, photography and collage by six contemporary artists. Artworks were selected as representative of practices which embrace sensual materiality whilst utilising apparently irrational methodologies including accidents, chance, mistakes and apparent foolishness as means of suspending conscious understanding to engender strangeness and wonder. The methodology brought an artist’s sensibility to the process of curation, involving the selection and installation of artworks in an experimental exploration of emergent meaning and sensation. The exhibition challenged notions of art as a form of propositional knowledge and the didactic role of the exhibition, finding that art can have unreasonable beginnings, develop from conditions of not-knowing, generate experiences of uncertainty and resist narrative interpretation. The research was funded by DMU, the University for the Creative Arts, and Norwich University College of the Arts. The exhibition was accompanied by an essay by contemporary theorist Kate Fowle, a website (www.cortezarrives.com), a chaired artists’ discussion with representatives from the University College of the Creative Arts, Norwich University College of the Arts and UCA students.
Research Group : Fine Art Practices
- School of Arts