exhibition review: 'What Have You Forgotten?' by Joby Williamson at TinType Gallery

"What Have You Forgotten?" An Installation of a Post-It Archive
By Joby Williamson

TinType Gallery

The press release states: "Williamson has been collecting discarded post-it notes on a daily basis for ten years. What began as idle curiosity, picking up a screwed-up scrap of paper from the pavement, has become a commitment to capturing those ephemeral narratives of everyday life."

As I entered the TinType gallery space through the back-door of the KALEID gallery I was immersed in darkness and the sound of many slide projectors whirring and clunking away in an offbeat chorus. As I moved into the centre of the room I could see large scale post-it notes projected on every wall; changing every few seconds; a dance of yellow squares on darkened walls. Trying to keep up with every change involved almost constant spinning around on my heels so that was soon abandoned and I settled for watching two at a time. To-Do lists, notes to self, thank yous, sorrys, goodbyes, phone numbers and unintelligible scrawls; they are all there throughout the post-it archive. Mainly that traditional yellow but occasional oranges, pinks and greens; some have clearly been dropped on the floor or stuffed into pockets, corners turned up to expose the dirt collected by the gummy strip. This collection of ephemeral notes are strangely compelling to read.

I love the way Williamson has used the slide projector as a way of displaying a selection of his archive, I feel that it works extremely well as a form of display, especially as this is an exhibition of a collection. I find this exhibition exciting but also perhaps lacking a certain tactile quality I yearn for as a fellow collector of ephemeral material. I was glad to see that there was a catalogue available with a some essays and a selection of images of the post-its arranged pleasingly on a few pages, but I would have liked to have seen more of the archive itself; for a show about post-it notes there wasn't an actual post-it to be seen. Perhaps this was the artist's intention; to convert the ephemeral quality of the paper note into an archived transparency which could last for up to 200 years, but for an artist who captures narratives I would have liked to have seen the sequential history of this post-it note archive.

Joby Williamson studied Fine Art Printmaking at Manchester and the Royal College of Art.

You can catch this intriguing show at TinType Gallery until 17th July 2010.

TinType Gallery
23-25 Redchurch Street


Deborah said...

What a fun exhibit! It reminds me of one at the Philadelphia Free Library several years ago where the display contained papers, etc. that had been found tucked in the pages of old books. There was a nice name for it but I no longer recall what it was.

Abigail Thomas said...

Oooo that sounds really interesting! Isn't ephemera great? My tutor from when I was at Uni published a book of all the words written in the margins of all the library books in our Uni's library.