The Courtauld's MA Curating students present their annual exhibition online.

18 June 2020

The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA Curating the Art Museum students announce their annual exhibition, offered online for the first time and running for a month from Thursday 18th June. Organised by nine emerging curators, Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday represents both an extraordinary group of artworks and an effort to ensure that art can continue to be accessible in unprecedented circumstances.

Originally conceived as a public exhibition in Somerset House’s galleries, the project has moved online: potentially reaching a far wider audience at a moment of immense collective digital engagement.

Somerset House is home to The Courtauld, which is currently undergoing a major transformation project to make its world-class artworks, research and teaching accessible to more people. The Courtauld Gallery will reopen to the public in 2021. 

Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday was conceived in response to the 50th anniversary of the departure of the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages from the General Registry Office at Somerset House. Such an archive records the banner headlines, the life-beginning, life-changing and life-ending moments that mark human experience. But what would an archive look like that instead recorded the fine print: the quiet, everyday moments of transformation and connection that shape human lives?

Artists have responded to and embraced modes of archiving throughout time, creating material records apart from and sometimes unknown to official histories. Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday explores the enduring impulse to record, reflect and connect through everyday life:  its small wonders and disappointments, its intimate joys and tragedies.

With major works from the Arts Council Collection and The Courtauld Gallery collection, this digital exhibition spans four hundred years of artistic practice, from the 17th century to the present day. Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday represents the work of 24 artists. These works of art can be visual diaries of personal experience, portraits of families and communities, or traces of loss. They call on us to reflect upon the many ways in which we construct archives of our lives and memories.

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Visual Diaries highlights examples of artists who have recorded and reflected upon personal experiences and moments. Rembrandt’s spontaneous sketch of Saskia Sitting Up In A Bed, Holding a Child (1640) captures a moment of familial intimacy. Linda Karshan’s three drawings 15.6.00 (2000), 8.6.00 (2000) and 5.8.00 (2000) record the movements of her body at particular moments in time.

Family Albums and Community Portraits brings together artists using their work to define their place within families or communities. In his photograph series Exiles (1987) Sunil Gupta sought to capture the marginalised queer community of Delhi, India. Berthe Morisot’s study Berthe Morisot drawing, with her daughter (1889) offers a glimpse of female artistic genealogies that both reside in and transcend the familial sphere.

Traces of Loss reflects artists’ efforts to preserve memories and objects that might otherwise be forgotten. Nigel Shafran’s Dad’s Office Series (1996-98) explores how domestic spaces hold traces of the people who once occupied them. Alek O.’s Edward Higgins White III (2011) was created from the unwoven threads of gloves found discarded on the streets of Helsinki, materials that evoke the unknown histories of their previous owners. 

Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s Estate: a Reverie was filmed over seven years in close collaboration with residents of the Haggerston housing estate prior to its demolition. This deeply moving community portrait actively seeks to evade the statistical lens through which the estate’s residents were so often viewed, in favour of a ‘poetics of everyday life’. It is a diary kept and an archive made, an elegy of a place now gone and a portrait of the community that once occupied it. This film will be screened for two weeks on the exhibition website.

Alongside the digital exhibition, Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday will also include an exciting programme of events, including artists’ talks and film screenings, hosted in collaboration with The Courtauld Research Forum and Somerset House.

See the exhibition online here: https://unquietmoments.courtauld.ac.uk/

Arts Council Collection: The Courtauld's MA Curating students present their annual exhibition online.
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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.