TEXT In Praise of The Corners

TEXT In Praise Of Corners


After noticing a pattern of corners creeping into
contemporary photography – both as subject matter within
images, and as physical places in which pieces are exhibited
– curator Trine Stephensen began to consider them as spaces
of endless potential. Punctuated with images from artists for
whom corners are a constant lure, she reflects on the act of
curating and re-learns how to look at spaces with their
corners in mind.
Corners. It all began when searching for artists photographing corners for a
journal I was publishing. I found seven artists and I selected three images per
person. In total, I had a selection of 21 images that I printed in a self-
published journal titled The Plantation Journal 5, Sculptural Corners. The
search itself was like a journey. First I had the subject matter – a persistent
return to the theme of corners in contemporary photography – and from there
I picked up artists along the way.
Since then, I’ve been searching for an exhibition space, and thinking about
corners all over again. As I write this, I am in a white cube. A cube with equal
square walls. Walls that are held together by corners. The artists and the
artworks I’ve encountered of late have bought me here. Back to corners. What
is it about them?
I’ve been thinking about the feeling of being stuck recently. As a curator, I’ve
felt stuck. In the spaces I’ve found myself in until this point, I couldn’t find any
movement. It just hasn’t felt right. I’ve continued my search for the right
spaces, and in order to do so, I’ve had to re-learn how to look at space.
A corner is a beginning and an end. It is the only place that has a complete
overview of the whole room. Standing with your back to the corner, everything
in the room can be seen. If you are facing the other way, the corner is the very
end. There is a comfort in having an overview of the whole room. This gives
the corner a significant meaning.
A corner connects an artwork and its place together. By placing a thing in the
corner, the corner is then given a significant meaning of its own in relation to
the thing placed there. Unlike a single wall, it envelops a piece of art. Frames
it. Has a presence that’s wrapped up within the experience of the work. To
have a newfound awareness of the occupied corner re-teaches us how to
really look at space. To take notice of things. Maybe we have to begin to
revisit gallery spaces in order to get an understanding of them, and an
awareness. An awareness of their walls, ceilings, floor and corners. To
become conscious of the surroundings. Conscious of each corner having a
marked presence. To truly see the elements of a space. We can use each
corner in a room as a point of reference to establish direction, which

determines how we navigate the space, or how we see the things placed
within it.
Within this white cube, I continue to trace the lines of the space with my eyes,
and begin to notice how they always lead me back to the corners. The silence
of the lines is resonant. There’s a rhythmic silence to the lines I follow in order
to find the corner. Silence breeds space for reflection. Each corner in the cube
is a focal point now. A focal point with which to see the space between points
and things. We need these focal points in order to understand that there is a
direction for us, as a visitor – that there is something to search for and seek
out.
Within the space, I continue to follow the points of direction, and the lines as
they guide me to the corners. The corners at the intersection of three lines.
Suddenly, I’m aware of the space. I understand it. Now I see a white cube to
frame the work I want to show, and bring it into existence. A movement has
been created within the space. A corner allows for that movement because it
is both beginning and end. It allows for a process of renewal. The corner
allows us to create something new. A new beginning for artworks, in the
corner.

 

Published in Unseen Magazine, September, 2017