Curators Signatures at CCA Kitakyushu

16 November 2020 – 22 January 2021

Curators Signatures a solo exhibition by Langlands & Bell opens at CCA Gallery CCA Kitakyushu Japan, 16 November 2020 – 22 January 2021.

While re-organising their studio archive and sorting through files of correspondence relating to their life as artists, Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell noticed the signatures of the curators they had corresponded with since they began working together in 1978 and were struck by their individual character and beauty. The signatures range from those of young curators at the beginning of their careers to established and internationally prominent figures. In this exhibition at CCA Kitakyushu the artists display them as objects for contemplation so that we may appreciate their aesthetic qualities.

The 120 signatures vary widely, from extravagant and expressive flourishes, to deliberately abstract and minimal gestures. In each case one gains the impression of an individual distilled to their essence.

The signature is a deeply personal expression rooted at the threshold of individual internal and external worlds where intellect, emotions and personal ambitions are made available as a public presentation and put on display. In recent times the role of the curator has become increasingly prominent as the discipline has professionalised, in response to wider public access and engagement in proliferating cultural conversations and debates, around identity and interpretation.

Just as the functions and role of the curator have developed and evolved over time, so have methods of communication, letters, postcards, faxes, emails, social media, texts, etc. The signatures are a historical record as well as evidence of the continuing social, cultural, and technological changes we are participating in by making and exhibiting art. While we are looking at a simple mark on a surface, each with it’s own fundamental integrity, taken together as a group these signatures have a collective power to represent and convey wide changes in recent social and cultural history.

Through contemplation of the aesthetic object this project explores the self and questions of individual identity, at a time when these are being transformed and progressively eroded by the digital world. The signature is one of the last examples left where the body and language meet in a world of increasing virtualisation.

Press Release

The exhibition also includes a digital film projection.