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.
Fig 1. Namaak
The calculation presented did bring a level of intrigue, one found oneself looking up Namaak’s meaning;

namaak {adjective}

namaak {adj.} Translation phoney {adj.}
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.
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;

“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)
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’)
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’.
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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