Curators Signatures

2014-2020

120 archival inkjet prints on 310gsm Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Bright White paper.

While re-organising our studio archive and sorting through files of correspondence we noticed the signatures of curators we have corresponded with since we began working together in 1978. We were struck by their individual character and beauty and decided to present them as objects of aesthetic beauty for contemplation. The signatures range from those of young curators at the beginning of their careers to established and internationally prominent figures.

The 120 signatures vary widely, from extravagant and expressive flourishes, to deliberately abstract or 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.

Installation views, CCA, Kitakyushu, Japan. 16 November 2020 – 22 January 2021