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RHIZOMATIC 1st October – 12th November 2010 by appointment.<br> Private View Friday 8th October, 6 - 9.30pm (free taxi shuttle from Southall, see below)<br> Departure Gallery, 5 - 6 Boeing Way, The International Trading Estate, Brent Road, Southall, London UB2 5LF.<br>
Rhizomatic is an experimental, decentralised curatorial system based on the concept of the Rhizome, as explored in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical masterpiece A Thousand Plateaus. This is Departure Gallery’s largest and most ambitious show so far and includes work by over two hundred artists exhibiting in 100,000 sq ft of warehouse space.<br>
Selected artists associated with Departure Gallery were each invited to choose up to six artists to exhibit alongside them. In turn, this second generation were encouraged to invite a further six participants, making a third generation, who could then invite six more. This six-link structure was inspired by the idea that all humans are connected by ‘six degrees of separation’.<br>
A rhizome is a sprawling, unhierarchical system of connections that are constantly in flux and can spring up at any moment in space and time. This exhibition does not seek to fix the rhizome by presenting it in a finished form, but, rather, it represents an attempt to freeze a moment of this rhizomatic process in the interests of examining its structure more closely. Furthermore, the show aims to catch a glimpse of the creative networks within which Departure Gallery’s artists operate, in order to locate ourselves within the wider art world.<br>
“Principles of connection and heterogeneity: at any point a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be…A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organisations of power, and circumstances relevant to the arts, sciences and social struggles.” Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus.
This rhizomatic structure has particular resonance in the context of The International Trading Estate, which is a hub of haulage and distribution companies sorting and transporting goods in flux between producer and consumer.
The exhibition will not constitute the end of the rhizome, because a true rhizome has no beginning or end, but is ongoing and unlimited. Each artist involved will continue to make connections during and after the exhibition through the contacts and ideas that emerge as a result of the show. This opens up the possibility of creating a larger sequel exhibition at some point in the future. Who knows where this will go and what might result?
Louise Ashcroft, Curator.
A few reflections...
- The exhibition didn't need Deleuze and Guattari's theory of the rhizome as ballast - the project's aggregate mapping (auto-mapping) is a fascinating subject in its own right
- One artist described the uncanny way that everyone seemed to know everyone...kinda...Artists he didn't necessarily know invited artists he did - it was like live facebooking - loose ties
- The exhibition was staged in two massive warehouses...a brilliant location (though very out of the way - the free taxi service was brilliant). Too bad there wasn't more site-specific work - many of the pieces looked like they'd been shifted from the artist's studio to the exhibition venue without much consideration how they might sit in this space and in relation to the other artworks
- The PV was very short and the exhibition massive (lots of work to see and lots of artists to chat with) which meant there wasn't much time to take it all in...I wasn't able to photograph Helene Karzan's sculpture as the health and safety police closed up the space on time.
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