Gallery Space and an Artist's Presence / by Jeannine Cook

I had such a strange experience yesterday. I went to take down my silverpoint drawings exhibition, Pensando en Miró, in Sa Tafona Gallery at the Belmond La Residencia Hotel in Deia, Mallorca.

  View of "Pensando en Miró" silverpoint exhibition in Sa Tafona Gallery, (Image courtesy of Jaime Anka, IB3 television)

 View of "Pensando en Miró" silverpoint exhibition in Sa Tafona Gallery, (Image courtesy of Jaime Anka, IB3 television)

I walked in to the large white gallery space, with my art still hanging on the wall.  The room was quiet but the walls seemed alive with images. There was a presence, a spirit - and as I later discovered, this was not just my impression because it was my art but other people's as well.

 Another view of the exhibition, (Image courtesy of Martin Adam, photographer)

Another view of the exhibition, (Image courtesy of Martin Adam, photographer)

As I took the drawings off the wall, slowly the presence drained away, until there were just white, impersonal walls. It suddenly had become just any old large room. No vibrations, no resonance, no presence. It was so palpable I was shocked at the change and lack of atmosphere that remained. I suddenly remembered the expression that everyone used at home in East Africa after I had gone back to boarding school; the Africans said the house had become "baridi" or cold in Swahili.

Indeed the Sa Tafona Gallery had become 'baridi" and impersonal, devoid of any presence. I was left wondering whether every gallery space was the same when a solo show comes down. I had not noticed this abrupt change before in other places where I have exhibited.

I would be fascinated to hear of other people's experiences in this sudden change of atmosphere when an artist's presence, though the art work, is either introduced or removed.