3AM: Wonder, Paranoia and the restless night – Angela Kingston
I met Angela in about 2013/4. We were both teaching.
In those days, even lecturers at some universities were required to undetake a teaching course. Angela was new to teaching art curation and I was assigned as her teaching mentor. And what a journey! As most who know me are aware, I’m not a great art connoseur. I have my eye-catching pieces – invariably a dark painting of a ship blowing up or burning, or a prisoner in a dark cell, a shaft of light streaming in. You get the picture. So, how could I be of any help to Angela? Thank goodness there’s more to teaching than content.
Needless to say, Angela and I hit it off and have remained in touch since then. She’s an absolute inspiration and this showed in her apprach to teaching art curation and her exhibition 3AM which is the feature of this blog. Unfortunately I never got to see the actual exhibition as I was always in the wrong place everytime it moved. But I have read the accompanying book.
Angela’s strength is that she gets behind the image – trying to understand the artist in order to mediate with the observer. One teaching observation was done in an artist’s studio – his home. He allowed all of us, 15 students and me, into his space to talk about his art and his relationship with curators. What an eye-opening experience and waht a treat for the students. This was risky business – Angela being observed in a situation over which she had little control. She’s bold and brave – and this shows too in 3AM, particularly reading the introduction by Bryan Biggs, Artistic Director at Bluecoat.
So, what is 3AM wonder, paranoi and the restless night all about? Just that. How life is experienced in the early hours of the morning when most people are asleep.
In addition to a sample of what the artists displayed at the exhibition, there are some essays on life at 3AM – insomniacs tell their tale, a snippet from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a donkey in Cevennes, the importance of sleep, Mariella Foxtrup on fearing the dark and so forth. And for the musically inclined – a track listing of songs about the early hours. The mix of dark and light meant I was in my element.
For an insight into another world – one many of us avoid, this little book which started life accompanying an exhibition is a little gem with something for everyone.