Talking Point – ‘A WatWei Show’

Tuesday 12th February, 2019

A fascinating experience into the digitalised world of art

Talking Point Show - pic 2

Venue for the showLethaby Gallery, 1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA

Curators of the show – Rory Watson & Tyler Prior


Is the Digital impacting on the Artworld?

Watson and Prior also known as WatWei – Their objective was to kick start a conversation about how art is seen today.

My phone and The Talking Point WatWei programme – were the only tools used to navigate myself around the gallery

Throughout the show many questions were raised which sparked an interesting debate about the curatorial purposes, and what is now meant by the meaning of art. Below lists some of these fascinating thoughts:

  • Is the work on show still my work / the artists work / or does the work now belong to someone else?


  • Does the gallery loose part of its meaning?


  • An amazing experience – Being able to show your work in a gallery without the hassle of any installment.


  • A strong trust between artist and curator emerges, as the artist gives 100% control to the curator, as they decided how the work was to be seen.

Talking Point Show - pic 11.JPG
What was most unusual was seeing many people walking around a gallery with their phone right up to their faces. A scene you would expect to see in a busy town or city , but in a gallery?

  • I always felt viewing art in a gallery gave you the chance to have a personal moment. Where you could have that real time of corresponding with the works. This show changed it for me as I was experiencing the show with 20 to 30 other people, all close together hovering over each others phone trying to make sense of what was on the screen.

The strongest question I kept asking myself was – What really is a gallery? – Could it be the same as – what is an artists studio? 

  • An artists studio does not have to be an elaborate huge space, instead it could be a dinning room, a bedroom, a garden. As long as that space gives you access and allows you to get the job done, it is deemed the perfect space.

Could this be the same for the gallery?

  • I believe that in time there will be more and more art shows taking place in houses, shops, carparks, public transport and phones, opposed to well lit clean and tidy white cubed spaces.

Art just needs an audience and space!  

So why did I apply for this show?

I was keen to challenge myself and my work. I wanted to come away from the usual clean white cubed space where my work is often displayed.  My works are sculptural paintings where the 3 Dimensional is crucial, it is important that this is seen because it enables the audience to see the materialization between artist and material and technique and process.

I wanted to see if the phone / the digital could capture the essence of my making and do justice for my work. There were no guidelines about the show or what to expect, this did not make me nervous instead it filled me with excitement. I have always played with aspects of chance and the unknown so I was looking forward to seeing what the show had in store for me.

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Remnant #3 (From the Remnants of Ewhurst series) displayed in the exhibition.

What were my final thoughts on the show, and did I feel my work fitted in with the context of the show?

The idea of viewing art on your phone is great! More and more often apps like Instagram allow you to view artworks which you might never get to see in person. It also gives the artist a chance for their work to be seen by a large audience.

It was a brilliant experience and one I would do again but probably not displaying my own works. I realised that my work needs to be seen in person in the flesh, where the audience can really get inside the work, getting to see the process, and the obsessive nature of documentation which is imprinted into the surface.

Art professor Cynthia Freeland wrote an intriguing piece of text on Digitizing and Disseminating art

Freeland, Cynthia. (2001). A Democracy of images, P177 – 178. But is it art?. Publishers: Oxford University Press. Printed in New York

Everyone knows what the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s David look like – or do we? Artworks become reproduced so often we may feel we know them even if we have never been to Paris or Florence.

Art reproductions are ubiquitous!

We can now sit in our pyjamas while enjoying virtual tours of galleries and museums. around the world.

It is not just visual art that has been made more widely accessible by new technologies of reproduction. Operas, plays, and ballet performances are regularly broadcast on TV, leaving the concert symphony halls vacant.

Human experiences of art have been significantly changed in this postmodern age of the internet, videos, CDs, advertising, postcards, and posters. But for good or ill?