A Structuring Structure

This field-based project was based on the unprecedented access Naomi Sex was given to observe the oldest and largest open submission and selection of artworks in Ireland. This observation was made in March/April 2010 as part of my ongoing practice-based enquiry and in order to explore and sample how one key structure in the field of art functions and is positioned within the field. The event as a whole is a key fixture in the Irish art calendar – it is over 200 years old and every year on average over 2,500 works are viewed, evaluated and selected or unselected to exhibit. 

A Structuring Structure, March / April, 2010
Documentation stills, taken and archived by Naomi Sex 

Description: The stills attempt to run in a chronological order in accordance with how the event played out. As evidenced in the documentation, there are several stages and processes involved in the event, including the submission of artworks made by a large community of artists using all forms of media and from various genres of practice, including traditional and contemporary. When submitted the artworks go through an extensive administrative process, and are then stored together for a brief period of time in a large space in the gallery. A panel of representatives from the artistic institution conduct the selection process with the aid of the technical staff. A voting system determines whether the work is selected for exhibition or not. If the work is not selected it is then required to be collected by the relevant artists; if the work is selected it is then placed in various locations in the gallery space in preparation for the extensive hanging process. This process echoes with the salon hangs of the early 19th century. A prize giving follows this and several openings, one for the press, the exhibiting artists and the general public.

N.B. an edited sampling of documentation stills appear on this website. There is also a body of extensive text–based sound transcriptions recording the actual selection process itself, which is available on request.