Both Sides of Here: Artistic Encounters at the Threshold is a digital exhibition by the MA Curating the Art Museum students at The Courtauld Institute of Art. It is the product of a shared vision between ten emerging curators from across Europe and the US, with different voices, backgrounds and experiences. Created over the course of intermittent UK lockdowns, the students have embraced the potential of the virtual space to create an exhibition that explores the dynamic opportunities of a digital platform. It was in this liminal space that Both Sides of Here was born.
This exhibition reflects not only this unprecedented moment of transition for the world, but also the many moments throughout history in which people have confronted both physical and conceptual thresholds. With artworks from The Courtauld and the Arts Council Collections, Both Sides of Here draws attention to visible thresholds, such as in architecture and the body, as well as more hidden thresholds that address the intersectional boundaries of race, class, and gender.
We are deeply grateful to all the individuals and institutions who have supported and championed the making of Both Sides of Here.
Our sincere thanks to Dr Barnaby Wright, Deputy Head of the Courtauld Gallery and Daniel Katz Curator of 20th Century Art, and Beth Hughes, curator at the Arts Council Collection, who have been so generous with their time, expertise and insight. They have supported our exhibition and vision from the early stages of its creation and have made the prospect of combining these two very different collections feel both feasible and exciting.
Our sincerest thanks to Dr Ernst Vegelin, Director of The Courtauld Gallery, and Deborah Smith, Director of the Arts Council Collection, for their generous permission and encouragement to use and reinterpret works of such historic and contemporary importance.
Our thanks also to several individuals at The Courtauld who were so helpful in providing insightful and thorough feedback in a series of presentations: Dr Sussan Babbaie, Graeme Barraclough, Maarten Bassens, Dr Alexandra Gerstein, Dr Ketty Gottardo, Dr Karen Serres, Dr Rachel Sloan.
We would like to extend thanks to all of the artists included in the exhibition. Notable thanks to the artists Olivia Bax, Miranda Forrester, Mandy Havers, Timothy Hyman, Linda Karshan, John Maine, Jon Thompson and Alison Craighead, who have supported and enriched our project by giving detailed interviews with the curators. It is truly an honour to have had the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their work and process.
Our profound thanks and appreciation to Jacky Klein, who has led us in the making of the exhibition. Jacky’s energy, support and encouragement have been fundamental in navigating the challenges of making an exhibition in this particular moment, and her enthusiasm has truly enriched the concept, design, delivery and holistic nature of Both Sides of Here. Our thanks also to Martin Caiger-Smith, our Head of Programme. Our first semester of academic work with Martin laid a strong foundation and understanding of the vigour necessary in curatorial practice and exhibition making.
Our exhibition concept and interpretation approach has immensely benefited from the guidance and skill of Sam McGuire and Dr Esther Chadwick, who instructed us in a series of Language and Interpretation sessions during our second semester. Particular thanks to Sam, who spent considerable time working with us on our interpretation material, and challenged us continually to think clearly about our audience, message and approach.
We are lucky to have collaborated with a wide variety of institutions and individuals in the making of Both Sides of Here. Our exhibition website was made by Martin Edwards with the assistance of Kevin Cunningham and John Foster at Spin-Up, with design assistance from Seamus Edson. All audio and video content for the exhibition have been respectively produced by Michele Bianchin and Ed Prosser. Shreeji News has been instrumental in supporting our film screening – a key part of our public programme offer. Thank you to Hattie Harding and Nadine Muncey, the dancers at our public event at John Maine’s Arena. Special thanks to Michael Rosen who generously recorded an extract of his book Many Different Kinds of Love (2021), and to Susanna Clarke for allowing us to include a section of her book Piranesi (2020) in our audio interpretation.
Finally, notable thanks to the poet, Maggie Smith, who on this occasion generously allowed us to reproduce Threshold in our catalogue. Threshold was absolutely seminal from an early stage in developing and broadening our thinking about the spaces in-between; Both Sides of Here takes its name from Smith’s poem, and we are enormously grateful to her.
Our thanks also to:
The Courtauld Institute of Art and The Courtauld Gallery
Dr Acatia Finbow
Dr Karin Kyburz
Dr Grace Williams
MA Curating the Art Museum Students (2019–20)
Arts Council Collection
The Hepworth Wakefield
The National Gallery
The National Theatre
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Particular thanks to the artists and their galleries and estates
Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead
Anthony Reynolds Gallery
Felix and Spear
Imran Perretta Studio
Make Space Studios
Mona Hatoum Studio
Standpoint Gallery, London
Studio Stephen Willats
The Estate of Francis Bacon
The M.C. Escher Company
Victoria Miro Gallery
White Cube Gallery