We began our tour of Format Festival in the focal exhibition ‘Ahead Still Lies our Future’ which consists of 10 artists speculating on global imagined futures as it says in the gallery guide! (curated by Hester Keijser and Louise Clements).
There was such a wide range of instillations from the more traditional framed prints to a VR headset. The one that stood out the most to me was Sadie Wechsler’s ‘Part 1: Redo’ (images 4 and 5 above), the large prints and vibrant colours caught my eye as soon as I entered the space but the piece I found inspiring for my own exhibition was Ester Vonplons ‘Gletscherfahrt’ (image 1), the size and framing I thought perfectly suited the subject, the frames didn’t distract from the beauty of the imagery, which is the most important part.
The quality of the work displayed on the stair case to the second floor was surprising, I felt like the location didn’t give the imagery the recognition it deserved. I especially loved the dream like work of Dominika Gesicka ‘This is not real life’ (the first three images) her project about a called Longyearbyen, A place where no one is born and no one dies. Although this could sound like a lonely, derelict place you can see from the way she was captured the environment that this is somewhere almost magical.
We then went onto Derby’s Museum & Art Gallery for the People, Place and Things: The W.W. Winter Archive’ exhibition. This wasn’t very interesting for me as it focused on derby, but I was interested in the way it had been curated by Greg Hobson. I particularly liked the layout of the set of images above. It got me thinking about my own exhibition, although I don’t have as much space I think my own images will benefit from this style of display.
After the museum we went to Pickford’s House for the Modern Ornithologies exhibition and much to my excitement their was a selection of photo books to look through. I am always happy to discover new photo books, especially when i’m trying out new papers and binds for my own project. The book that stood out to me the most was ‘For Birds Sake’ from Maria Sturm and Cemre Yesil which is about the birdmen of Istanbul. The whole book from start to finish has a lovely feel and the layout was just the right amount of playful without being too complicated. It also helped me to choose the paper type for my own photo book as I think the paper used in this book isn’t too shiny but not too matte that detail is lost.
The Pearson building was our next visit, at first glance you wouldn’t even think anything was in there, but inside the building is an exhibition piece of its own! This was my favourite place out of the ones visited not only for the amazing architecture but the instillations seemed more playful and experimental then in other venues. There was a wide range of print sizes and a mixture of archival which was great for me to see how it was used to give me ideas for my own exhibition.
The last place we visited was the Graduate Award exhibition. Again, the range of instillations was great to see, I did think that some where slightly less affective then others, but it shows how important prints, sizes and framing are to bring out the most in your work.
Overall it was a great day and I got to see a wide range of new artists I’d never heard of before, which is what it’s all about! And on the plus side it helped me decide on a few things for my own work. I’d really encourage anyone who can get down to go and take a look, I just wish I had time to see everything!