Stick it, Pointillism

Part of Exhibition: Make it

Case Study

of an Exhibit

by Elin Roberts

Published on June 09, 2012

  • Description and goals

    Description and goals:

    We wanted a large, communal artwork so that visitors were contributing to something larger than they would make alone.

    A 12 foot wide x 8 foot tall white board was projected with a famous pointillist painting by Georges Seurat, ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’. The projection alternated between the image and plain white for 5 seconds each. Alongside the board was a tray of stationers’ sticky coloured dots (8mm diameter) in various colours (red, white, black, blue, green, orange, yellow and purple). Some IKEA stools were placed nearby.

    There was no signage. Visitors simply added their stickers onto the board.

    Development process and challenges:
    Once the seed of the idea was planted it was remarkably simple. The concept of stickering by projection rather than painting by numbers came to me after being inspired by The Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusama at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Maker in Residence, Helen Schell, suggested a pointillist image by Georges Seurat and ‘La Grande Jatte’ seemed perfect. A suggestion came from filmmaker Jonathan Sanderson that the image should flicker on and off and a while later our Head Technician Terry McCartney suggested the image should alternate between on and plain white.

    This gallery was on a tight budget, so it had to be cheap. We made use of existing boards and data projector and just needed to buy some white paint and more coloured stickers than seemed reasonable.

    Cost: materials <£300

    Lessons learned,
    Serendipitously we didn’t fall into the many of the pitfalls we could have, much more by luck than judgement. The choice of image was key – plenty of detail for visitors to pick out their own bit, a good range of colours and an opportunity for colour mixing and just enough room for subversion.

    We gently curated the image after hours, removing the very few names that were added, taking away the stray stickers that were roaming too far from the image (we didn’t want to encourage them in the rest of the gallery) and a couple of unsuitable additions (such as a revolver). We left most of the gently subversive additions such as flowers on the grass, apples on the trees and some more peculiar characters not in the original.

    It was very difficult to encourage visitors to fill in the less interesting background.

  • Exhibit Opened: February 2012

  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

  • Estimated Cost: Less than $5,000 (US)

  • Website(s):  http://www.life.org.uk

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