UNIDEE in progress…

…well well well, after 116 days, we had our open studio. I never had so much responsibility before for such an event. UNIDEE in progress is supposed to be a work in progress rather than an exhibition in the classic sense, but it still brings with it all the problematics of a group show. On the day itself, L, my boss pretty much disappears under an avalanche of guests and partners, obligations…it’s a part of her job that i don’t envy, all that smoozing, all the politics that come with running an institution within an institution, the constant search for grants and partners…am happy to stick with the arty part…

Of course there was technical help and support, but we were short staffed and at some points i felt like i was going to be split into 14 pieces…i would stride past people saying in a shrill voice “everything all right, every thing ok?” and i would here people mutter “she’s a bit stressed isn’t she…” Too bloody right i was… and then something miraculous happened…around about 3pm, as doors were about to open, the spaces had been cleaned, the technical problems all but ironed out…and the whole thing was looking pretty bloody good actually. I have posted lots of photos on the official UNIDEE blog i have been keeping of the event, but here i wanted to mention one of my favourite moments.

Sara Hany Abed’s performance: a young Egyptian artist who has never done anything like this before, quietly got on with writing a list of  “some of the advantages of being an artist, a female, and arabic muslim” Really simple, really direct, and really, in that place at that time, moving…

The Fondazione is not an easy space to show in, you are always battling with the spectacular architecture and vast scale of the place itself…and then there is our zero budget!!!…and then you are trying to have some kind of cohesion between numerous works and projects. But (and obviously i am a bit biased here) i think this was a strong show…It was not an easy year for sure, but the work was concentrated and very focused and made for a very strong group experience and some powerful performances…

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