Sometimes Sheffield can really surprise me and provide something so wonderful it makes me so proud to be from the city. Going Public is one of those things.
An exhibition that spans over five galleries and collections that vary greatly and provide art in all manner of places I have enjoyed each exhibit, some more so than others. To start with the Site Gallery which has part of the dslcollection. I didn't really connect with any of the pieces in the gallery and my only reasoning for this is that I didn't read into what they meant but the pretentious side of me says I shouldn't have to, which made me think of Clement Greenberg: "The so-called obscurity of modernist literature has, of course, a lot to do with the new stress on exegesis. When the overt meaning of a work can no longer be taken for granted, criticism is forced — or seems forced — to undertake the explication of the text of the work before doing anything else. But experience has shown us by now that the drift and shape of an "obscure" poem or novel can be grasped for the purposes of art without being "worked out." Part of the triumph of modernist poetry is, indeed, to have demonstrated the great extent to which verse can do without explicit meaning and yet not sacrifice anything essential to its effect as art. Here, as before, successful art can be depended upon to explain itself." I have since found out that the Site Gallery has an audio tour of the pieces within the gallery, my opinion may change after listening.
The same dslcollection is also in the SIA gallery where I found myself entranced with some of the video pieces in the gallery, especially the Planting Geese by Zheng Guogu which brought out the sadist in me. In the video, the artist plants geese in a field and then paints their heads black. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing other visitors in the gallery in discomfort watching the same piece. The geese weren't necessarily harmed but the very nature of it being unnatural was something that seemed to affect people.
There is also a photograph in SIA by Guogu called 'Me and My Teacher', which is a wonderfully large image of the artist and a homeless man that he spent time with over a six month period. It has the artist present yet it's not a traditional self portrait, also it's an image of two people laughing and I found it refreshing for something in a contemporary gallery, the more I looked at it the more I liked it.
Other work included in the SIA gallery such as the structure by Xu Tan that you could enter and also write on one side with a black marker, and another video piece by Yang Jiechang - Oh God/Oh Diu, which after a while watching the artist repetitively write and announce the words became quite hypnotic. Overall, I believe the SIA had the better choice of the collection. I shall definitely be attending the galleries again before the whole exhibition comes to a close.