The Lift Gallery: Namaak

‘The Lift Gallery’ cannot really be described as a ‘gallery’, much more a small corner left clear for the purpose of displaying art. Riddled with disruptive features, such as a busy stairwell, cleaners cupboard, and central pillar make the Lift Gallery a challenging space to display artwork.
The piece on display, ‘Namaak’, (Produced by BA Hons, Fine Art Year 2 students) from a viewers standpoint left much to be desired. Poorly presented on warped card and with hastily printed accompanying leaflets, the piece did not really command attention within the space.
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Fig 1. Namaak
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The calculation presented did bring a level of intrigue, one found oneself looking up Namaak’s meaning;
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namaak {adjective}

namaak {adj.} Translation phoney {adj.}
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And herein lies Namaak’s meaning. It is a ‘false’ artwork. The calculation holds no meaning apart from to be false. Naturally frustration is mosts first reaction, the sheer pretentiousness of the ‘piece’ making ‘something out of nothing’ is infuriating.
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However, if one looks a little further, some respect should be given to the convincingness of the lie. A false curator ‘Jean-Michel Lizène’ and a false artist ‘Cristó Santö‘ were created, as well as their accompanying websites. The non-existent curator was further brought to life by a supposed connection to programme leader of BA(Hons) Fine Art, Critical and Curatorial Practice, Edith Doove.
The piece had a great level of success in concealing it’s deceptive lie, The Plymouth Herald even supplied an article about the up-and-coming work;
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“A NEW collaborative exhibition is set to take centre stage at a city art college.

Namaak, a visual art exhibition, will open next month at Plymouth College of Art.

It brings together the collaborative vision of renowned art curator Jean-Michel Lizène and innovative installation artist Cristó Santö.
[…]
 Lizène is known for his fascination of the functionality and ambiguous nature that art can bring to the viewer and their environment.”
(Plymouth Herald, 26.10.2012)
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It is quite astounding that such simple things like a website, and a connection to a figure of authority can drag a ‘person’ into existence, and even entitle the entity as ‘renowned’, and this is something that the creators of Namaak should be applauded for. (Seeing a ‘trusted source’ logo at the top of the article was the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’)
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The construction of the Namaak ‘equation’ is also something I as a viewer feel is successful in communication the pieces ‘meaning’ (or lack of) as it provides all the clues to its pointlessness. I.e. ‘Pseudonymity’ as in the guise of a false curator and artist, ‘Ulterior motive’, the piece being not as it seems, and 36, which refers to the number of ‘co-conspirators’.
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Naamak, though being slightly pretentious, was a well thought out work, which however, I as a viewer felt succumbed to a challenging viewing space and rushed presentation.
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References:

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