Artwork labels

You probably already know I am a big supporter (and also a huge crucifier) of labels or captions next to the artworks. Today I am not going into details about the visual appearances and the positioning, but I am going to discuss their content.

I am a kind of person that wants to interpret the artwork myself; however, I also need some context. Not to see if I am wrong or right, but to open myself to different readings of the said artwork.

But I also dislike if there is too much text. Who has time to read miles and miles of (usually) academic words that don’t really say anything?

That’s why I chose another path for my exhibition Law of Identity. It was an international open call for 44AD’s Annual Summer Exhibition eighthwonder and I was this year’s curator. The theme I proposed was ‘identity’, as it is a much talked about subject all around the world and I hoped the variety of artworks would bring a different understanding of what this word means to different people.

Long story short, when I was about to write the open call, I started brainstorming in the form of a mind map. Then decided I won’t put out the description of what kind of artworks I am looking for, but just the words that artists could interpret themselves.

eighthwonder 2015 opencall

And sticking with this model, I concluded my labels won’t have descriptions in a form of a text. My labels are going to be mind maps, handwritten by artists themselves, pushing the theme of identity to the limit.

You know, just a few carefully selected words tell much more about the artwork than the long text would. And this kind of description is completely open to your interpretation. It leads you on a journey, but the final thoughts are your own.

I was quite impressed by how good it worked. And I will definitely use this model again.




  1. featured photograph: personal archive
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