Monday, 22 July 2013

Do It 2013 at Manchester Art Gallery

The strong smell pervading the whole of the gallery came from the gallery staff who were carrying out Rirkrit Tiravanija's instructions to make Thai curry paste.

Not quite sure whether or not the visitor could help with the chopping of the onion or grating of the ginger, and not being able to enjoy the curry paste produced in the gallery, I felt like I was only getting half an experience, and given the simplistic nature of the recipe, felt that reading the instructions alone would have done the job. Then again, it did smell good!


Another instruction, to create a grid on the floor (squares could be of any size) and place one red object in each of the squares., lost its impact due to the size of the grid. Rather than the whole room being gridded and filled with red objects, the artwork was confined to one corner of the large room.

Whereas these instructions had been performed by the gallery staff, some of the artworks such as Yoko Ono's uninspired wishing tree required audience participation. Similarly, another artwork instructed the viewer to take one of the shoe boxes from the pile in the gallery, fill it with objects of significance and then return to the gallery, placing it back on the pile. Unfortunately, as with the majority of other artworks that encouraged viewer participation, the outcome resembled nothing more than a pile of rubbish; graffitied boxes filled with a few exhibition leaflets, tissues and sweet wrappers.

I found the half-hearted attempts to follow the instructions an unnecessary and frustrating part of the exhibition and would rather have imagined the outcome having seen the written instructions.

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