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Curation Process: When The Mountains Called

Jamie Chan, Singapore, Exhibition, Opening Night, Mickey In the Van, Photography, Orchard Ion

Image by Pandora

This post has been sitting in my drafts for an entire year but better late than never!

When The Mountains Called was a photo exhibition featuring works from the Kathmandu Inside Out workshop alumni over the past 3 years.
It was an exhibition that I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to curate and plan for in a span of 25 days.
Looking back at the news of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck Nepal on 25 April last year, it was a very sad and trying time for the KIO team who was in the midst of organising this event.

Under Edwin Koo’s lead, we pushed on and had a very successful fundraiser/ exhibition with plenty of media coverage.


When The Mountains Called

As for curating the exhibition itself, right of the bat, I had the idea of playing with the words “inside out”.
Which means, I wanted the entire flow of images in the exhibition to have a sense of going in and out.

We sketched out the rough layout of the entire exhibition before I moved on to the enormous task of laying out 28 stories which came up to about 170 images. Fun times and lots of coffee, I tell you.

While the exhibition was running, I had a question from someone who was interested in curating exhibitions and collective of works; she asked, ‘How exactly do you know which image should go where?’
In other words, is there a hidden formula or rule that I follow when I am curating and arranging my images?

I told her I drank tequila, play some rock music and et voila, I’ve curated a masterpiece.
Well, that’s the half-truth; minus the tequila, I play rock music, drink coffee, throw the images up the air, arrange, rearrange until it ‘seems right’.

I always stress to people that art is simply a medium you choose to express yourself in.
Same goes for curating, there are no set rules that the blue one should go first, rather, how do you feel about the overall set of images as a collective.

So there is my curatorial secret. Put on some music you like and arrange your collection in a way that speaks to you and your audience. Ask yourself, how do I feel about it because changing an image’s position switches up the entire rhythm and dynamics of the collection.
Also, don’t limit yourself to a linear curation of this happened before that; instead, mix it up and remember that at the end of the day, you are not curing cancer but you are looking at evoking a certain feeling in which you would like the audience to take away from your exhibition.

When the Mountains called, Kathmandu Inside out, Curation, Photography Exhibition, Jamie Chan, Prints

Unveiling the prints

The hanging was done in the middle of the night and we are very thankful for everyone who lent a hand or two to get everything done in time.

When the Mountains called, Kathmandu Inside out, Curation, Photography Exhibition, Jamie Chan, exhibition space, orchard ion

The Final Set Up

I would love to know if you had seen the exhibition and if you have any questions regarding the curatorial process!

When the Mountains called, Kathmandu Inside out, Curation, Photography Exhibition, Jamie Chan

Thank you all for coming!

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