This year I’ve been an exhibit in a gallery…and so has my patio furniture

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity of appearing in a short film being made by the artist Edward Thomasson. The film was called ‘Inside’ and was part of an exhibition of the same name that he was having at the South London Gallery. It was an exploration of different kinds of ‘inside’. My partner Neil was also in it. He and I are singing on a sofa, and he is also the prison guard. Edward didn’t want professional singers, he wanted it to sound like an ordinary couple talking about something that had happened in the news, but in song. So to reiterate, we were DELIBERATELY not sounding like professional singers, because yeah, we totally could have sounded like professional singers if we’d wanted to, got it?

The film is 15 minutes long, so you might not want to watch the whole thing (there won’t be a test…well, maybe just a short one), but if you want to see it, it’s below. You’ll have to ignore the big ‘Wondershare’ watermark/logo on it; that was down to my failure to find an appropriate file conversion program to convert it into a format that I could upload to YouTube. I spent a long time. Nothing worked. I had to settle for this one that slapped the big old watermark on there…

More recently, a Facebook friend put out a call for unwanted old white plastic patio chairs. Her artist husband, Sam Westbury, wanted them to use in an exhibition he was putting together, entitled ‘Can’t Open the Door’. And you’ve guessed it, I stepped up. My four old white plastic patio chairs, which had been festering outside for years, were handed over.

Two nights ago, we went to see the exhibition, or ‘Immersive installation’ (See how I’m learning all the lingo now that I’m so in there with these arty folk) at ‘The Pie Factory’ in Margate. I took a photo of the section with the chairs, which is posted below. It looks a bit strange out of context here, but it’s part of a whole story that the installation takes you through. I’m certainly no art critic, so I wouldn’t presume to review it, but I truly did enjoy it. I had the opportunity for a chat with Sam, and he explained it all to me (in words that I understood), and it made perfect sense, I could see how all the elements worked together. Sam even said that one of my comments was very perceptive (Me! Perceptive about art!). It’s called an ‘Immersive installation’ because you don’t just stand and look at it; you experience it, you become part of it. It also stayed with me, I kept thinking about it afterwards and over the weekend. Anyway, without further ado, my old chairs are in here somewhere:

Patio Chairs

If you would like more info on Sam’s exhibition, and more photos, there is a Facebook group here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/452476074774097/

So have you ever been an exhibit in a gallery in the same year as your patio furniture has, or is it only separate years for you guys?

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47 responses to “This year I’ve been an exhibit in a gallery…and so has my patio furniture

  1. I’ve learned a couple things from this post. First of all, I’ve learned you’re far more sophisticated than me. Secondly, I’ve learned if I ever put a book trailer together, I want you to star in it, because you look great on camera. And so does your uvula.

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  2. You and your inner workings were the most interesting part. Bravo!

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  3. You win. Who can beat patio furniture fame? As for two significant moments this year? On my 2nd box of washing powder… So clearly doing less washing… And. And. Stumped. PS You guys look great in the film.

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  4. Well, I watched part of the video and I have to confess I never quite get this sort of film or installation art – not my bag! However, I thought you and your partner were very good (really sounded professional), and I agree with Carrie! You have an outstanding uvula! 😉
    And those plastic chairs are ubiquitous! I saw a newspiece once that talked about how they have spread all over the globe. I know I have two white ones and a green one in my garage and I live several miles west of the UK!

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    • I’m the same, I don’t really get that type of art usually, but in these two cases I obviously had the opportunity to talk to the artists and hear directly from them what it was all about and that makes a huge difference. Both of the artists are lovely, and down to earth. With the installation one, I went round it the first time without knowing what it was meant to be about, and I didn’t get it; I enjoyed elements of it, and I could appreciate how much work had gone into it, but I didn’t really understand what it was about. I then spoke with Sam, and he explained it, and after that I went round it again, and it made perfect sense, and I loved it that second time through.

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  5. Aren’t you glad you didn’t have a sore throat that day? I’ll admit, I don’t get this kind of art, either. But it’s really cool to see fellow bloggers “doing the day job” in something like this. The next time we’ve got an interesting field project, I should remember to get out there for some good photo ops!

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    • After having had these two experiences, I think I’ll see this type of art differently in the future, I’m not saying I’ll be any more likely to “get” it, but I’ll probably make more of an effort to try and find out what it is meant to be about, rather than just dismissing it with “Ha! Well anybody can throw a pile of junk in a corner and call it art!”.

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  6. Hi Vanessa
    I loved the film. It had a really haunting quality about it and you and Neil were great in it. Without wishing to sound completely sycophantic the camera does love you! You looked so beautiful staring out of the window. When I make a film of The Lady of Shalott I want you in the lead role.
    Re the exhibition it’s great to hear that Margate is staging interesting exhibitions (with Vanessa’s chairs!) As you know I was born there and lived in Margate till I was 18. T.S. Eliot may have said “On Margate sands I can connect nothing with nothing…” but obviously some interesting connections are now being made.
    Congratulations Vanessa. You are a star!
    Mike x

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  7. Awesome! I’m going to watch the video now!

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  8. uh……may i have an autograph??

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  9. Many, many things to enjoy and ponder in that film. Fascinating faces and many appreciated comparisons. You, of course, were lovely, but not in a usual way. I thought you portrayed your part quite well. I counted over two dozen ways the inside reference worked and that was really exceptional. Well done and thanks for sharing. HF

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    • Thanks HF, you obviously watched the whole thing, and considered all the elements. Glad you enjoyed it. Two dozen ways, wow! I’m not sure I could count that many. Edward was really great to work with, he shaped it around the people he had cast, rather than trying to fit the cast to ideas that were set in stone. What I think I mostly liked was the voice of the woman who narrated through it, she should record audio books!

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  10. Neil makes a good screw!

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  11. That was really interesting. Quite like the rats in my last post. Your singing is great, and those earings are the best. I really felt as if I knew that lady in the prison. I’m sure I know her, well, I do now.

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    • Thank you. Those earings were made for me by a friend, not specifically for that film, just as a present. I’m not sure she’s seen this actually, I shall have to draw her attention to it so that she can see her earings on film! Yes, I really liked that lady, it’s possible of course that you do know her from somewhere.

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  12. Now I’ve seen down your throat, my life is complete!!
    Do you think I can get your chair’s autograph? (the one third from the right.)

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  13. I really enjoyed that! (I must admit, that when you said it was “a short film by an artist”, I was not expecting to.)

    The camera loves you (as do we all), AND I’m pleased to report that you do not have strep throat. So good news all around!

    Congrats! Do continue to post your film work and everything else. No matter how crazy my schedule gets, I’ll always find a little time to check it out.

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    • Thank you. Yes, I wouldn’t know what to expect if someone said “a short film by an artist”, it could be something completely abstract. I’m suprised by how interested everyone has been by my throat though!

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  14. Vanessa,
    Loved this. I have to admit that Le Clown fast-forwarded the video to your scenes… I know. I know, but he will watch the whole thing tonight, with a cold glass of sparkling water (with a zest of lime). Curiosity satisfied. And that exhibit looks like something L’Éric would have thoroughly enjoyed….
    Le Clown/L’Éric

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    • Ah, well at least you didn’t fast foward through my scenes, and just watch the other bits! Then I WOULD be upset. I bet you would make a fabulous art exhibition yourself, either as the creator of it, or as being a part of it!

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  15. I was all ready to compliment you on your turtle neck, and your singing – but then we saw all the way down through your uvula then your throat… Nice work. And actually, very nice singing/playing from you both.:)

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  16. Pingback: My Uvula and Other Animals | Vanessa-Jane Chapman

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