The gallery is a place where anyone can create an exhibition about themselves

Jun 4, 2024 | News

Edinburgh Printmakers are urging anyone to add or move artworks around in a continuously evolving exhibition

A Scottish gallery is giving art lovers and artists alike a blank canvas to create their own dynamic, ever-changing exhibition by inviting them to hang work on its walls – or even remove it altogether.

Running until 19 June, Edinburgh Printmakers’ Castle Mills: Then & Now – Whose Gallery is it Anyway? Is giving free rein to visitors to act as both artists and curators, allowing them to add their own pieces to its main exhibition space, move exhibits around, or take them off display.

Staff are on hand to help place works on the walls, and to demystify the art of curation by giving insight and advice about the role.

The open call encourages artistic expression across the board, from printmaking to textiles and even performance. Community groups, local schools and individuals are getting involved and the project is proving such a hit that the gallery has had to restrict the number of works people can put on display to one large exhibit or two smaller pieces.

I’d never really seen an exhibition like it. This has been a really, really valuable experience for me

One exhibitor, Molly McLean, said the exhibition was helping up-and-coming artists break down barriers to showing their work. “I’d never really seen an exhibition like it,” she said. “This has been a really, really valuable experience for me.”

Agita Makevica has taken the opportunity to showcase a series of mixed media portraits. “I was really drawn to the open concept,” she said. “It gave me a precious opportunity to share my work publicly. This is my first experience of having my work exhibited in Scotland. It has been so exciting to be one of many people participating in this exhibition.”

Making an exhibition of yourself: the gallery where anyone can add to the walls

Whose walls are these anyway? Image: Edinburgh Printmakers

The initiative calls back to Edinburgh Printmakers’ roots as both a members’ organisation and the first open access print studio in Britain. It’s housed in the Grade C-listed Castle Mills heritage building, which in a former life employed thousands of locals as the HQ of the British Rubber Company.

Edinburgh Printmakers at Castle Mills, Dundee Street, photographed by Jules Lister

Under the Edinburgh Printmakers’ custodianship, the iconic venue has hosted work by, among others, the late pop art pioneer Eduardo Paolozzi and Scottish multimedia artist Rachel MacLean.

Castle Mills: Then & Now is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and aims to encourage conversation about art and curation and while giving ownership of the space to locals.

“As the public continuously modifies the exhibition, it will never remain exactly the same, prompting a reflection on printmaking and the visual arts that goes beyond a single curator’s selection,” said heritage officer Ilaria Casini. “We’re enjoying the conversations, artistic discoveries and celebration of creativity that keeps changing every day.”

Main Image: Alan Dimmick

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