A conceptual artist pairs with a group of art fans to make rather than look, touch rather than talk, and produce rather than interpret. This is the story of IMPREINT and I Know What I Like, and their 2-hour guerilla exHibition project outside the Serpentine Galleries in London.
IMPREINT met I Know What I Like through a balloon-holding ritual in West London. One was out snapping portraits of people holding a balloon (simple, clever, scalable concept), while the others were doing critical rounds of Mayfair galleries and their proposed exhibitions. Questions were asked, balloons were held, skepticism was exercised, photos were taken and contact details exchanged.
The next decision was for IMPREINT and I Know What I Like members to challenge each other outside their comfort zones and create something together. On a slightly irreverent note, the collaborative process took place in the shadow of the Serpentine Gallery, which had just hosted the blockbuster Marina Abramovic collective meditation sessions. Was our project worthy of occupying just the outskirts of the art establishment? Maybe so, but it was still very energising to make it happen.
IMPREINT’s proposal was to replicate an installation he had constructed on two previous occasions the year before, one on the beach in St. Ives in 2013 and the other one in Regent's Park during the Frieze Art Fair of the same year. The installation consisted of 93 unique yellow painted canvased provided by IMPREINT, which would be arranged by I Know What I Like members to form a giant letter H – the symbol for a landing helicopter. The canvases each had different cracks on them, resulting from the glue and spray paint technique used in their production, so they were far from being perfect yellow rectangles, which was part of the point. Eager to compose the H, they all fell together so smoothly that the resulting symbol could have easily been mistaken for the real thing, had it been seen from afar.
One by one, the canvases were then removed from the giant H, poking holes into the straight propriety of the letter and making us ask ourselves at what point the H stopped being an H, and would a helicopter still come land on it?
Lessons we all learned:
1. Making art and enjoying the moment is almost as fun as questioning the value of what we made
2. People like simple things to bring them together – see the success of the 512 Hours performance
3. It is worth trying this out with a real helicopter
4. Would a vertical H make any sense as a landing helicopter symbol?
5. It is all-round rewarding to challenge people outside their comfort zones through art – so more of that please!