By Suzanne Kelly.
An open art exhibition in any other city in the UK is likely to be a laid-back affair in terms of censorship and over-regulation.
It is likely to attract people who are interested in art practice, ideas and would go without a hitch.
Organiser Jean Paul Baptiste simply wanted to allow artists who are outside the established Aberdeen arts hierarchy a chance to show.
Aberdeen ArtCentre & Theatre Gallery was the selected venue, and all went well – at first.
The gallery decided that exhibiting sculpture in an area where a lift used by people with mobility issues was an impossibility.
This decision came after the show started. The fact that all around the world it is possible to have both disability access and sculpture co-exist was lost on the administration.
Then members of the public (how many I would like to know for openers) made a complaint about some of the artwork. So great was the trauma for the complainers they complained to the gallery and the city council. Perhaps they’ve written to the PM – we should be told.
So, this being Aberdeen, the thing to do was to cover the work up temporarily – not to justify the artistic merits of the work which are blatantly obvious to anyone with or without an arts background.
Who were these anonymous offended people who thought their own opinion was more important than the rest of the public, the artwork and the show? Please do come forward, if you’re out there. Aberdeen Voice will allow you space to explain why you wanted to ban artwork.
The gallery said:
“This is a joint message from the Operations Manager of the Arts Centre, George, and Baptiste, the curator of the exhibition.
“First, let us thank you for your interest. The current exhibition has been most exciting for the artists and the venue. We had an immensely successful launch night, where the art provoked discussion, reaction and a good time for those who attended.
“We understand that you have gotten in touch regarding some matters that have been raised around the exhibition itself and are looking for comment.
“Concerning a couple of the works being removed from the floor space, this was the result of an error in communication. The Centre hosts events in the Gallery where the exhibition is and uses it to access the lift when the exhibition is closed.
“Though sculptures were practicable for the night of the launch, they were not practicable on a daily basis, at all times, as multiple events can run through the course of one day. This could mean damage to the sculptures themselves, and could impact on health and safety. The fact that standing sculptures were going to be present was not ascertained clearly, and next time there will simply be better planning.
“Please see this link for a virtual tour of the opening night. We hope it captures for you the essence of the evening, and the current exhibition. http://virtualtoursaberdeen.co.uk/tours/art-2017/index.html”
- Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.