Raqs Media Collective: Twilight Language

Updated: Mar 21, 2018

How curators do more than just hang frames

Once again I found myself at Manchester's Whitworth Gallery but this time on a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) organised lecture with Leanne Green, one of the Galleries assistant curator's, who explained how the role of the curator worked during this exhibition.

I had always assumed the role of the curator was to organise how another persons work was put in a space or to organise an exhibition of others works to fit together to form a theme. However the truth is it can be so much more than that. Green explained that her role during the Raqs Media Collective Exhibition: Twilight Language was to almost create the work herself. Raqs are based in Delhi, India so their access to the gallery and ability to move work into the space from India was very limited.

As a result Green almost exclusively created the works on display while continually feeding back to the artists in India. For example the group would want to create something around the idea of the passage of time and so Green created a series of clocks which would each show a different world time zone. The group then wanted to be displayed in an arch to represent the rise and fall of the moon and so Green had to adjust her idea to fit with how they would have wanted it.

This work was much more of a collaborative effort than I would have first thought, this group based in India, were able to work with a gallery thousands of miles away to produce work that not only represented them and their ideas but also Manchester and its people. They wanted to do something to do with Gypsum, a material produced in Manchester and so Green came up with this partially 3D printed structure to represent that.

This talk and exhibition changed the way I understand curation and how the gallery space works.

This show was on display at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, I visited a selection of galleries around Manchester a few weeks a good which can be found here: https://www.alistairgrimley.com/news/manchester-galleries-feb-2018


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