Interview: Cotton Reels, Lost Gloves and Unquiet Moments

Getting to know the 2020 MA Curating Team

by Izzy White & Ellie Perry 10th August 2020

After a resounding opening week that saw them named The Guardian’s "Exhibition of the Week", Izzy White and Ellie Perry sat down with the Courtauld’s MA Curating team to chat about their end of year virtual exhibition Unquiet Moments, learning to code and the things they’ll remember from this strange moment in time.

IZZY WHITE: Congratulations! We saw that The Guardian picked you as the Exhibition of the Week! How have you found the reception to be generally? JULIE BLÉAS (Press and Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator): The Guardian has definitely been a massive highlight! I think overall we have been really pleased with the reception and the feedback we have heard. What is interesting to see, is that writers that might have an inclination towards art but are not writing for art publications have been interested in covering the exhibition. We’ve been [covered] by two lifestyle magazines! But I think that just goes to show that people are really looking to art during a time that has been so difficult. People overall have been praising the website and how they relate to the exhibition, so that’s the greatest praise of all to see that we’ve looked at art in a different way. ELLIE PERRY: You were inspired by the history of Somerset House as the registry for births, deaths, and marriages, how did you come to this as a source of inspiration and how did it develop into Unquiet Moments? ELIZABETH KETO (Lead on Interpretation, Catalogue, and Image Licensing): For the past several years, the exhibition put on by the MA in Curating has taken place in the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, and the exhibition’s theme has been in dialogue with the summer program at Somerset House. This year they chose to focus on a chapter of the building’s history, and its function as the registry housing the public records of births, deaths, marriages, and wills in the UK. It is an incredible archive of these individual and social rites of passage and significant moments in human lives. So for us, [when] we were given that brief, we were really struck by what the archive might exclude or elide. In the sense that, there’s all this fine print and details of life that goes on in between these significant and recognised moments of birth, life, and death, so we were drawn to the idea of an archive of the vernacular, showcasing the everyday intimate joys and tragedies. We felt like this was a really appropriate theme for an exhibition because it is often artists that do the work helping us to draw close to, interpret, and understand the everyday. Day-to-day life is the water we all swim in without seeing it. Artists and the attention that they give to everyday subjects and, in turn, the attention that their works then demand of us as viewers, helps us to see the water and the challenge within it, deepening our perceptions of the lives we live daily. The title ‘Unquiet Moments’ – which we actually arrived at quite late in the process! – evokes the idea of something that’s fleeting but also resonant a