For the exhibition – Tag – Three London-based painters have each been asked to invite one other London-based painter they like or admire, who will then invite another, and so on. This has resulted in 36 artists being invited to participate, each with their own unique style of painting.
Tag was a way to allow each artist to ‘curate’ or organize the next step in the exhibition, in a similar way to exquisite corpse, where each person asked to contribute is aware of the person who precedes and follows, but is unaware of what is being contributed. Similarities appear between artists within each tagged thread, often marking a close understanding of the invited painter’s work. Viewers may examine each work, and decipher influences or contrasting differences.
Tag also perhaps gives a better survey of current London-based painting than a single organizer could give – as abstract and figurative painters, recent graduates and more established artists, and a variety of mediums and sizes are shown here side by side. The rules each artist received when asked to participate were the same: 1) Each participating artist must be a painter who resides in Greater London 2) Each person must contribute one painting, smaller than 90 x 90 cm 3) Each artist will ask one other artist to participate, until 15 artists are included in each thread As there was a given time frame, many artists were quick to respond and participate.
However, as any exhibition with rules would likely discover, the rules can also break down. In one thread, an artist was unresponsive after agreeing to participate, leaving a short space of time to try and finish the chain. Therefore, another artist was asked in their place, who then asked two artists in order to try and create separate branches and a longer thread.
Although this thread is still the shortest of the three, this directional shift adds greatly to the basic idea of Tag – that surprises and turns in an exhibition, or an artist’s work, trump any rules.