Tuesday, 15 January 2008

behind the scenes at apartment - a view from the settee

preparations for Nikola Irmer’s imminent solo show ‘Horst’ are fast taking shape and disrupting my usual perch in apartment. in fact, i’m beginning to feel in the way. it’s all part of the contradictory, transformative processes inherent in the tenureship of this residency, where the private and the public collide and coincide. i’m always unsure of my role here anyhow on a day to day basis; at once in paul’s home and in apartment’s office. now for the first time i’m acutely aware that i’m simultaneously in a functioning gallery, with hefty packing cases containing delicate canvases winging their way to us from berlin…my fragile realities are slipping and fragmenting…

the cosiness of an art show taking place in the domestic setting of apartment is of course somewhat disingenuous and deceptive ; the gallery and its location always complicit in its playful ambiguity and sense of the absurd, and in this show in particular the traditional 'frame' of paint and canvas adds to the queerness and confusion often accompanying a visit to the tower block. the smaller paintings have been with us for a while and are already hung in the bedroom, creating a disconcertingly voyeuristic experience upon scrutiny of the pieces themselves, exposing the vulnerability and innate privacy of what normally happens in other peoples boudoirs. like peering illicitly through a neighbour’s curtains, viewing Irmer’s depictions of Horst’s dishabille heightens or draws attention to the often intense and personal nature of collaboration between artist and model, as well as a vague sense of unease at peeking behind closed doors.

back in the living room and kitchen - the more familiar, sanctioned territory of the house guest - an enormous canvas, tightly bound in bubble wrap, is propped casually and enticingly against a wall, by what is normally my writing desk. i feel out of place and decidedly usurped - ‘proper art’ has arrived and my own uneasy status as writer rather than artist in residence makes me feel more than usually ridiculous.

i leave tonight for Rome and will miss both the opening night and the arrival of the artist and the rest of the work, which will be hung and arranged around the flat. by my return, the show will be properly bedded in, visitors will have trouped in and out, and taken a peek into the public and private lives of gallerist, curator, artist and model.

Horst is perhaps the most disconcertingly appropriate and challenging show in the history of apartment, where the meticulous nature of Irmer’s work and collaborative process feeds perfectly off the setting and location of apartment’s tangible domesticity, disrupting our assumptions around public/private and voyeurism/exhibitionism.

the show launches on thursday evening, 17 january, and details of the show and preview can be found at apartments blogsite http://www.apartmentmanchester.blogspot.com/; sorry to miss you and all the excitement of opening night...

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