Enamel on board (2 parts)
Artist Dan Howard-Birt Death is not the End, 2009-22 Oil, acrylic and ink on canvas, calico and panel with additions inc. fresh flowers, tambourine and carved and painted cucumber
Mono silkscreen on archival paper mounted on aluminium
It’s Beginning To And Back Again was always intended to be a changing exhibition. Despite only including one painting, the project allowed for constant over-painting and re-painting; the adding to and taking away that occurs in the studio, to continue to happen under public view. After 4 weeks, the painting was changed in a new way: small works by Casper White and Nina Royle were attached to the front of the painting. What does it mean to display the works of other artists within an object which contextualises and activates those works in such a complicated way? Are those works belittled, stifled, compromised? Or are they re-framed, becoming voices in an uncertain and inconclusive conversation?
Those other voices introduced into a single painting led to a discussion about whether the show itself could begin to bring in other works by other artists. Dan Howard-Birt and Project 78 Gallery invited Alice Hartley and Geraldine Swayne to make new works, or to lend existing works, that developed something of what they thought was happening within the changing painting.
It’s Beginning To And Back Again, Again proves that exhibitions do not have to be planned months in advance. It challenges the presumption that exhibitions are designed to convey fixed ideas. More than anything it celebrates the feeling that unfinished (or unfinishable) paintings and exhibitions are live things.