The Arca Project: An Exhibition Inspired by the Work of W.G.Sebald
More than fifteen years after his death, the writings of W.G. Sebald continue to inspire artists and exhibitions. The latest example is an announcement by the PayneShurvell gallery, whose next exhibition will be “The Arca Project: An Exhibition Inspired by the Work of W.G.Sebald.” According to their website, “The Arca Project is an exhibition consisting of 16 visual and 16 textual responses to one single image. Each response has been realised as a limited edition print, developed and made by Invisible Print Studio.” The exhibition is scheduled to open April 1 at a location about a half hour north of Ipswich in Suffolk, England (details at their website).
In the same way that The Rings of Saturn takes a single idea, a walking tour, to open up a wide range of ideas and conversations, The Arca Project sent 16 international artists and 16 writers exactly the same image and asked them to interpret the image as they wished (the only limitation was the uniform paper orientation and size). The recurrence of this image offers many interpretations. All are fictitious. It is a game of false interpretations. The idea is to have artists and writers in a Sebaldian mix of fact and fiction, documentary and reality.
This exhibition, which will take place in a new space outside of Debenham, brings Sebald’s wanderer back full-circle to the county that inspired him. Additional events, including films and talks, will take place during the run of the exhibition. The Arca Project draws its title from an essay by Graeme Gilloch, “The ‘Arca Project’: W.G.Sebald’s Corsica.”
For the opening on April 1 we will be showing the film, Patience (After Sebald) on a loop. We will also have two curator led tours of the show at 4pm and 6pm.
Artists and writers involved include Andrew Bick, Craig Burnett, Andrew Curtis, Karen Engle, Adam Fish, Emma Fraser, Lindsey Freeman, Graeme Gilloch, Steph Goodger, Oona Grimes, Tony Grisoni, Catherine Haines, Michael Hall, Molly Jarboe, Jaeho Kang, Naiza Khan, Jane Kilby, Abigail Lane, Richard Makin, Bob Matthews, Bruce McLean, Ana Milenkovic, Simon Patterson, Tony Plant, Daniel Rapley, Fabio La Rocca, Julian Rowe, Martina Schmid, Steven Scott, Allen Shelton, Erik Steinskog and Jo Stockham.
The Arca Project is curated by Michael Hall and Graeme Gilloch and will be presented by PayneShurvell.
One of the curators, Michael Hall, has written about the inspiration for the exhibition over at Artlyst. “When I conceived The Arca Project my intention was to devise a way of incorporating the essence of W.G. Sebald within a project. I never wanted to merely pay homage to him but to develop new work through his influence.” According to Hall, “The image used in this exhibition has nothing to do with Sebald though…. I guess you must make of it what you will.”
There were a few rules though:
1. Textual responses write about the image.
2. Visual responses work directly over the top of the image.
3. Size and orientation would be standardised.
4. They are exhibited as diptychs – 1 textual response and 1 visual response.
5. There are as many responses as years since W.G. Sebald’s death.
6. They are moved around daily.