ART BLOG 

Whilst scouting for young talent in the southwest, Sacha Craddock, independent art critic, writer and curator, took time out to talk to a select few at Newlyn School of Art. Her focus was to share her experience of curating the 2017 Turner Prize Exhibition, at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, as part of the UK City of Culture 2017 programme.

Sacha studied painting at Central Saint Martins and then Chelsea School of Art. She taught for a while at the Royal College of Art and was lucky enough to witness the early work of Turner Prize nominee Hurvin Anderson and winner Lubaina Himid. It is perhaps this connection which earned her the role of Curator for the Tate organised exhibition.

Sacha has judged many art prizes during her career including the Turner Prize in 1999 and the John Moores Painting Prize in 2008. She has written widely on Contemporary art including reviewing exhibitions of many up and coming Young British Artists. She was the only journalist to review the pre-YBA exhibition: Frieze, which featured early work by artists such as Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Mat Collishaw. In 1996 Craddock became chair of Bloomberg New Contemporaries, a role which she continues to hold. It was with this hat on that she reviewing the Cornish summer shows along with friend and portrait artist Jesse Leroy Smith.

George Vasey, curatorial fellow at Newcastle University and writer worked alongside Sacha to choose existing work from the artists’ collections for the exhibition. They also added existing pieces from the Ferens Gallery own collection, to contribute to the Turner Prize exhibition experience. Slight alterations were made to the building for the exhibition These included the construction of two temporary cinemas within the gallery space to screen Rosalind Nashashibi’s broken but well-edited films.

Sacha played a key role in choosing Ferens Gallery. The space for the exhibition within the walls helped her determine which pieces were included in the final show. Sacha is more than aware that the many restrictions put on a curator should not influence what is shown but it is difficult to put these restrictions aside.

Her talk frequently returned to the difficulty of joint responsibility that curators face. A responsibility to both the public and the artist. The pressure of representing the work of such high profile artists in the best possible way and honouring those intentions, whilst appealing to an audience. It was a role that although she admits to enjoying she is also not in a hurry to repeat.