This collaborative work was done is association with John Vella – an artist and friend of the practice. The project was undertaken in response to a request for different arts practitioners to work on a collaborative piece in the gallery environment, and to display this collaboration alongside examples of their own work. An exploration into the nature of an artist/architect collaboration has in part generated the premise, and form, of the work. A decision to affect the entire exhibition space was motivated by a desire to extend the collaboration into the space . . . to make it ‘spatial’ as well as ‘painterly’.
The conceptual basis for the work was that museums and art galleries are spaces where objects are presented and - via a range of measures – viewed and understood in a controlled way. The viewer is educated not to touch, not to take photos, and to stay behind the line. A myriad of signs, cameras, alarms and gallery attendants are engaged as enforcers of these ‘curated’ laws of viewing. The tape (and other barriers) also serves to assign value to a work. The more elaborate these devices, the more ‘significant’ a piece of work is assigned to be.
This work is a mutated version of a museum tape. Extended, enhanced, and re-presented, this line of tape demands to be viewed as art and yet it seeks to carry out its traditional role. However, as the tape itself is presented as an artwork, it begins to question the status of the other objects, and artworks, in the space. Should we look at it, admire its form, walk over it, and where should we stand - inside or outside the line? Should there be a line of tape around the tape to keep you away from this new work? We have attempted to explore, if not exploit, the aesthetic dimension of the tape.
The form of the installation also suggests the architectural components of a gallery space - the armatures upon which paintings, sculptures and other objects are placed. Furthermore, the tape begins to reassign value to those components of the space not usually considered ‘artworks’, but which have an inherent beauty that, the architect would argue, deserve attention. Where does the art stop and the architecture begin? Can the ‘architectural’ components of the space aspire to be art, or are they to be ever assigned as ‘practical/functional’ components and therefore undeserving of the title? The tape suggests that everything on one side of the line is art, whilst everything on the other is not. In this sense, it serves as a microcosm of the walls of the gallery itself. It dictates that the objects within the space are to be treated differently. When nature calls in the gallery, the urinal you piss in is not the one with the tape around it.