Art-600 Exhibition “The Untitled Self” Allows Artists Freedom to Explore

One corner of the Gelb Gallery is dedicated to the project made by Campbell Munn ’19, who used a collection of items from an antique store, including 3000 family photographs that line the walls and Time magazines laid out on the floor, to create his final.

Thousands of family photographs line the corner wall of Gelb Gallery as part of an Art-600 project created by Campbell Munn ’19. A transistor radio rests upon a small bedside table next to a wooden rocking-chair that faces a television. On the ground lie several Time magazines, and the decorations indicate a living room setting.

“The glib way that I’ve been describing it is that I really like stuff. I like to collect stuff,” said Munn. “All the images on the wall came from an antique store in town and that store gets everything at estate sales. Call it weird—I’ve already heard it. I essentially got the majority of the found objects at that store.”

The piece was one of seven created by the students of the Art-600 class, a year-long commitment comprised of two major projects, the latter of which exhibited for the first time last Friday. The exhibit, currently on show in Gelb Gallery, is titled “The Untitled Self.”

The class, although taught by Therese Zemlin, Instructor in Art, was based primarily off of the students’ vision. According to Anna Lang ’19, the structure of the course was more similar to an independent project than a normal class.

“It was a lot like an [Independent Project] in the sense that you just got into whatever you found out was interesting. Sometimes we would come together as a class and give each other advice and critiques. I definitely liked it—I think especially for something like art, especially at the 600 level, you should have your own vision in what you want to create,” said Lang.

Lang’s piece is a four-part hanging matte board sculpture with laser cutouts of hundreds of blind contours of her hands. Using her project to explore the line between fate and agency, Lang felt that blind contours, one-line drawings done without looking at the source, explored this theme.

“The whole idea was creating a physical representation of fate and your relationships with other people, especially because there are so many cultures with a similar mythology surrounding the idea of fate,” said Lang.

Without the restrictions of a prompt, Amy Xia ’19 decided to examine the relationships she had with her grandparents. Xia’s piece included a sound installation with fragments of conversations between her grandparents and her mom, as well as several fragmented painted portraits.

“My piece was a series of watercolors and I decided to draw portraits of my family members— my grandparents in particular. They were all fragmented portraits so I had pieces of the portrait cut out and floating in front of the rest of it. It was about how I can’t really communicate with my grandparents because I don’t speak Mandarin fluently, so a lot of my relationship is mystery,” said Xia.

The exhibition provided students with the opportunity to both finally reveal and showcase their work, and to conclude the work they had created over the past two terms.

“I knew that my work was going to be in a small hallway with people walking back and forth. So for example, the sound installation that I had was a minute and thirty second looped because people would sort of just be scanning by, so a lot of it was tailored towards the momentum of that space,” said Xia.