I have four pieces in the ICA ‘PRIVATE: Staff Only’ show:
Watching this go up around the building has been a real treat. Every weekend, new works have appeared: on the narrow stairwell, in corridors, and even in our offices. Déva has her films running on a monitor by the photocopier; Emma has her dirty washing in the kitchen. Little surprises popping up everywhere.
Though there have been mutterings about some of the work being ‘a bit GCSE’ (usually from people who don’t have anything in the show), I’m really surprised not by the talent that’s on display, though there’s plenty of that, but by how many of my colleagues are (unlike me) day-to-day working artists. While Jens rather patronisingly wonders what it must be like to be a mere gallery assistant when you’re ‘actually an artist’, I’m struck more by the way artistic practice is a part of so many people’s lives. Though it’s also notable that the show belongs to the ground floor and mezzanine a lot more than to the second and third floors, and inasmuch as work refers to the quotidian ICA, it refers to the ICA below Carlton House Terrace rather than above.
The show’s also at least as conceptually rigorous as Cerith’s empty gallery: a hidden secret gallery behind the walls draws attention to what and who it takes to keep the white cube, the cinemas and the theatres, running: the wires behind the scenes. Welcome to the ICA, now please move along, there’s (literally) nothing to see here…