The Artist as Curator – Curation of a non-art object

Imagining my chosen piece ‘The Fall’ by Clare Telling (made up), in a gallery space was easy, non art objects as art isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the contemporary art world. In fact it happens a lot. Using non art objects in this way can bring about discussions of many issues from the economy to throw-away culture and even to humour life or it’s viewers. We only need to think about Claes Oldenberg’s sculptures and Martin Creed’s Blu tack to see other examples of non art objects working or appearing as art.

This piece intrigued me as it was a used and discarded wheelbarrow with no wheel, and with various injuries and marks, the paint all peeling and a beautiful array of layers and colours and patterns showing on the surface. The ‘Barrow’ has definitely been used and abused in the past and has now been given a new life.

Firstly I wanted to show the piece in it’s simplest form, balanced on a plinth in a gallery space so the viewer can move all around it. Here I am not delving into the context of the piece, I am just presenting it as it is, how the artist intended.

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Then, feeling the artist’s intentions on the barrow being seen as figurative I propped it against the wall so the figure was more noticeable. I could also imagine it being seen in a gallery setting like this.

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Using my initiative I played on the back story of the piece and where it originally came from and the fact that the barrow, in its figurative form can be seen as a metaphor for the worker that used it, firstly, by making it ‘wear’ some wellies and then by placing a sand bag in its ‘arms’. Now it not only looks figurative but it has additions to the piece to make it more exciting. To me though this is a little too literal in its positioning.

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So next I put the wheel barrow in its normal position still ‘wearing’ the wellies but this time with the sandbag holding the ‘head’ down, so its legs were in the air.


Next I propped the piece up by the handles, still kept the wellies on and placed the sandbag in the barrow and positioned it in a way that portrays the worker on his hands and knees in despair being dragged down by the weights he carries with him which could be a metaphor for the working class as a whole and how downtrodden they are by society and the way they feel. This is the curation I feel has the most potential and addresses issues in an impactful way.

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So then still playing with the idea of the downtrodden working class I kept the wellies on the barrow but this time turned it over so it looks as if the working class are laying on their backs looking like they’ve given up.

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Next I experimented with the idea of the barrow normally being used to carry things. As the barrow has been thrown away and discarded like the working class feel, I thought I’d show how we have replaced the barrow with shopping trolleys and used a trolley to ‘carry’ the broken and discarded barrow/working class.

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Here I am showing the fight between an old model and a new model, something being replaced and the working class feeling like they are constantly putting up a fight and scared that their skill or job can be replaced at any time by a newer skill or robot.



Overall, I quite enjoyed curating a piece in different ways although I know I definitely didn’t exhaust the amount of possibilities. My chosen final curation is this image below, I love how the idea behind the metaphor is quite obvious but not too literal.


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