By Esihle Mngini
For its annual winter exhibition, Blank Projects lends its space to an artist or collectives to collaborate on a show. This year, Blank Projects brought together FEDE Arthouse and Under Projects, culminating in a successful exhibition titled ‘Fullhouse’; featuring works from numerous renowned artists and art practitioners such as Mankebe Seakgoe, Lungiswa Gqunta, Thando Phenyane, Tony Gum, Vusi Nkomo, Ciara Dunsby, Dom Prestorius, Luyanda Zindela and Yonela Makoba, to name a few.
This collaboration sought to bring forward the different sensibilities of artists as well as the distinct curatorial processes that underpin both FEDE and Under Projects’ bodies of work. FEDE positions itself as a nomadic gallery that utilises different spaces; established by Carol Khaas, Lebo Kekana and Nthabiseng Mofokeng, however, currently run by Kekana as sole director and curator. On the other hand, Under Projects is an artist-run project space by Mitchell Messina, Brett Seiler, Luca Evans and Guy Simpson. Many factors come into play when it comes to curating an exhibition, particularly as far as acknowledging differences and similarities goes. FEDE is known in the art space for their experimental ways of exhibition-making while Under Projects enforces an unconventional outlook into their practice.
The essence of Fullhouse was a broad library of artworks drawn from FEDE and Under Projects’ respective, diverse communities of artists. Mitchell Messina described it as “recurating different works as the collaborative project develops.” The show comprised different mediums from paintings, sculptures, and handmade crafts as well as a versatile use of materials and media. “The idea is to notice how the different pieces work together as well as seeing what different bodies of works in different configurations can do”, says Messina.
In its completion, Fullhouse’s configurations highlighted how different artworks, when weaved together with the necessary care, can work seamlessly. Moreover, a joint effort in curating, when done correctly, fosters a rich exchange of ideas. Curators draw from a wide range of perspectives, resulting in exhibitions that are reflective of the broader contemporary landscape and hold deep nuances. Through this collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, curatorial processes become a fluid, dynamic conversation that allows for innovative, thought-provoking exhibitions that challenge status quo.