The premise behind Darling & Edge’s innovative idea is to redefine the stereotypical nature of an art gallery. When entering any art gallery or area where art is displayed, it is expected of you that you do not touch the artwork for fear that you will ‘tarnish’ the art. In the eyes of the art world it is typical that artwork is not physically interactive, but interactive on a deep and personal level. Darling & Edge have flipped the definition of a gallery on its head attempting to escape the expectation that artwork is only a deep philosophical process. Therefore within their exhibition you don’t only become the art, you become the artist.
A room covered with crisp white paper, expanding from floor to ceiling, left open and fresh to be manipulated and printed upon by the public. Rather than the artists producing a show in which you come and watch; they have produced a show in which you become the artwork; layer upon layer of new material and imaginative outcomes.
It is a fascinating process to watch the public enter the gallery because at first people are terrified to paint because of the expectation that they aren’t supposed to interact but only watch. Upon them being informed that they are welcome to paint and ‘tarnish’ the paper, imagination often takes over. They have an excitement about them that mimics that of a young child, as if a 5 year old had just been told that they were going to Disney Land. Whether the individual just splashes paint over the area or does a detailed drawing of something particular.
Throughout their exhibition the Darling & Edge girls have stayed true to their values of Beauty, Confidence, Collaboration, Playfulness and Transition. They affirm that the exhibition is accessible to all, however it should be highlighted that beauty is a subjective concept. It is therefore interesting to watch the gallery develop because not every drawing is considered ‘beautiful’ universally – however, it is beautiful to that individual, which is what makes it collaborative. This is because that one single image of beauty is seen by hundreds of strangers over the course of the exhibition – and each individual will have a different point of view; interpreting the image differently and wonder what the story of the print is.
Above all, the exhibition itself incorporates the world’s playfulness and encapsulates people’s inner thoughts and desires. Having watched the exhibition grow and change each week has not only been a bewitching process but has also shown me that people are thankful for the opportunity to revert back to childhood where they fondly remember splashing paint onto a surface.