Tucked away in East London is PUBLIC Gallery, a contemporary art gallery featuring diverse emerging artists from around the globe. Innovative and forward looking, the gallery captures its exhibitions in 3D, including “Our ashes make great fertilizer,” a recent group exhibition curated by Saelia Aparicio and Harminder Judge.
Spanning a range of media from ceramics to neon to paintings, the works explore what it means to transform “such as metamorphosis, rebirth and decay – from the bodily to the spiritual.” The exhibition features 15 artists from Europe, Asia and the United States, spanning across three levels of the gallery.
Harry Dougall, Director of PUBLIC Gallery sat down with us to talk about the inspiration behind this striking exhibition and its 3D capture.
Q: What inspired the 3D capture of the "Our ashes make great fertilizer"?
We opened our new gallery space in the summer and as one of the inaugural exhibitions it was important not only to capture the show in 3D for anyone who couldn’t visit in person, but also to provide a sense of the space itself in a way that videos and photos can’t quite do. We were delighted with the results and thank The Net Gallery for assisting with this.
Q: What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?
It’s hard to choose, I think part of the magic of this show is the diversity of different works - all of which deal with ideas of transformation - including ceremonial ceramics, shamanic brandishing sticks, plaster portals, biotech bodies, transcendental neons, mutated sleeping bags and shapeshifting paintings. One ‘must see’ would have to be the never-before-exhibited 1970 painting by the Kashmiri neo-Tantric artist Gulam Rasool Santosh on the left wall of the ground floor.
Q: What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after experiencing the exhibition?
The exhibition is co-curated by two of the participating artists Saelia Aparicio and Harminder Judge so their own words seem most fitting to use: “We hope that when you visit this show, and you look at the work you may also undertake a transformation, that you might become a bird and pass through this world and into another, that you may kiss the floor and cover your lips in soil and feel the oily imprint on your loose, dusty surface. We hope that you may become aware of your own mechanisms – the internal multitudes that gear and fire us into being – allowing you to channel that strain of bacteria that floats through your interior; a cave made of flesh and bone.”
Q: How have virtual technologies like Matterport played an essential role in the art world?
From documenting exhibitions for posterity to creating new ways for people to engage from across the globe with shows in the here and now, virtual technologies like Matterport provide an essential tool for the art world. The current situation with COVID-19 and physical restrictions has no doubt stimulated the necessity for such modes of viewing, but it was always coming. There is no doubt that the best way to experience art is in person, but as technology develops and the need for such technology increases it is exciting to see what virtual possibilities are on the horizon.
Q: PUBLIC Gallery is currently closed following government guidance regarding COVID-19. How are you coping with the uncertainty?
Yes, as the UK is currently in a second lockdown the gallery is physically closed until measures are safe to lift. However, like our counterparts in the arts and the world at large we continue to be active in the face of uncertainty engaging our audiences online through digital offerings such as NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT, an online show we presented that brought over fifty artists together from around the world. Equally, we continue to work on our future program and the hopefully imminent next show so all is ready for viewers to experience exhibitions with us in person when the doors can open again.