The majority of gallery visits can be typified by a universal viewing format and structure: artworks placed on walls with a central void in which to view them. When reversed, the strict distinction between viewed object and detached viewing platform still persists. What initially grabs the attention at Barbara Knezevic’s ‘Exquisite tempo sector’ in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is the fluidity with which the artist plays with these usually rigid and structured spaces. She has utilised a myriad of materials, from photographic paper to candles, seawater to plants, and collated them together to present a multi-layered and multi-functioning exhibition. The more traditional artistic mediums of photography and sculpture are seamlessly nestled in among leaves and earthenware pottery, each one a vital component whose presence expands on the environment created by Knezevic.
A visit to this exhibition is akin to a studio visit, albeit one rigorously controlled by the artist. Smells emanate as we criss-cross our way through the show, sudden moments of guilt perhaps as we peer around a backdrop, until we realise Knezevic has drawn us there. All exhibitions are a process of viewing, but here our role as active viewer is thrust front and centre, in our search for information we become voyeuristic sleuths. Studio lights and tripods ensure we are keenly aware of the performative aspects of the work – with the exhibition akin to a large film set that we have wandered onto and are now tentatively exploring. Excitement is palpable as we reflect on how each material, each element responds to the other.
Return visits to Exquisite tempo sector see the experience further rewarded. The central theme of time is exposed further as normally subtle changes are amplified to the dramatic. The large rock-like candles on the floor see their wicks burrow deeper into their core, like a sun slowly setting on their live performance. The leaves of the Monstera deliciosa grow and throw different shadows across the gallery floors and walls. We become aware of the varying lifespans of each material and that we are witnessing this cross-section of their disparate existences. Knezevic questions the functionality of a gallery space and the role her exhibition plays within it. We are not presented with a fixed work already defined, archived and preserved, but rather a living show that is evolving and changing, continuing to develop its dialogue with its audience throughout its run.
Barbara Knezevic’s ‘Exquisite tempo sector’ was at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios from November 25th, 2016 to January 28th, 2017.
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