Informing Contexts – Week Eight – Whose Voice Is It?

Whose voice is it that we hear and read when we enter a gallery or venue exhibiting artworks?

That has to depend on the type of work being shown, surely?

If a solo show, I would like to think that is the voice of the creator we hear rather than a third-party transcript of the originator’s ideas and inspirations.

Yet, as my own show is starting next week proves, as a commissioned piece of work it is not only my voice but that of the commissioners. In collaborative projects, I would like to see and hear interpretations from all involved.

But with more generic exhibitions with varied content, I’m not sure a singular voice can be heard as each artist will want to have the same exposure as another.

A fellow student this week described a photographic exhibition he had taken part in as “perhaps inevitably creating a tension between pieces with presentation jarring at numerous points and in a few cases being hung in small portions of wall between architraves and other clutter”. I did not get a sense that he felt there was a clear voice to the show, although he was pleased to part of it.

In venues that are aimed at the general public most will have a marketing/communications person/team to direct the wording for displays, promotion etc. When writing for a wide audience the information needs to be engaging and may take on a lighter tone than is developed for a specific audience.

Whether or not the interpretation material speaks to me depends very much on whether it holds my attention and makes me want to know more.