A–Z Display Units (After Kiesler & Krischanitz) 2015–2020
author(s): Gavin Wade
published in: Research Catalogue, Birmingham City University: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media
Art is not exhibited. Art Exhibits – Gavin Wade, 2012.
Wade’s practise and research challenges the nature and understanding of art’s primary function as an exhibition. His work expands the artist-curator role through his development of new systems of display. These draw on historical precedents creating sculptural mediations between artists, curators, and publics. He proposes transformative artworks as social systems and temporal experiences, always requiring collaboration with others. Drawing from studies of ‘useful art’, ‘artist and engineering’, ‘support structures’ (Condorelli and Wade, 2009) and referencing Artist Placement Group’s concept ‘context is half the work’, his output informs understandings of ‘when artists curate’ (Green, 2018) and the ‘transhistorical museum’ (Demeester, 2018).
Wade’s remodelling and extending of a series of ‘Display Units’ use a process of ‘upcycling’, a term Wade uses to describe his method. In 2015 Wade started developing artworks upcycled from the ‘L and T–Type Display Units’ (Frederick Kiesler,1924) and referencing the ‘Vienna Secession Mobile Wall System’ (Adolf Krischanitz,1986). Wade’s synthesizing method is generating a new A–Z alphabet Display Unit system as part of the process of re-imagining curatorial activities as a form of art practice. His Upcycle This Book (2017), nominated for the European Prix Bob Calle du livre d’artiste, presents 26 texts on this work and 12 Display Unit drawings.
Wade created Display Units for ‘Display Show’(2015), exhibited in Dublin, Birmingham and Netherlands – funded by ACE/British Council International Artists Development Award. Christopher Williams (USA), Eilis McDonald (IRE) and Leeds Weirdo Club (UK) were collaborating artists.
Wade worked with Frans Hals Museum collection to create ‘Z is for ZOO’ (2017) exploring the transhistorical potential of his ‘Z-Type’ and ‘T-Type’ Display Units, artworks purchased by the museum.
His writing for ‘Display Show’ provided the provocation for ‘That Art Exhibits’: EARN Conference, Brussels (2016). Wade was the invited keynote speaker.