WHISPERS is Ronchini Gallery artist Adeline de Monseignat’s first curatorial project, and is based on the concept of the childhood game of ‘Chinese Whispers’. It is an experimental project and exhibition of works by 12 contemporary International artists including: Eve Ackroyd, Aglaé Bassens, Gabriella Boyd, Oliver Clegg, Amy Gadney, Vanessa Garwood, Celia Hempton, Tom Howse, Tom Leamon, Whitney McVeigh, Tamsin Relly and Howard Tangye.
De Monseignat only stipulated four specific rules for the twelve artists to follow for the project, as below:
Rule #1: You, the artist, will ‘replicate’ the artwork given to you
Rule #2: It is in your power to understand the term ‘replicate’ however you like: this goes for style, scale, medium.
Rule #3: You will not have seen the ‘original’ artwork (except for the first artist), only the artwork given to you.
Rule #4: You will have up to 1 month to complete your replica from the day the artwork to ‘copy’ is lent to you.
Left: Eve Ackroyd, Whisper 12 (detail), Courtesy of the artist and Ronchini Gallery
Right: Celia Hempton, Whisper 10 (detail), Courtesy of the artist and Ronchini Gallery
De Monseignat discusses the development of the project by stating:
Adam Thirlwell’s book 'Multiples' resonated with me. This latter consists of a ‘Chinese Whispers’ project where each original short story is translated into a different language, the resulting text translated again and again. As the final text has taken on a life of its own, it still retains the DNA of its original. I had long wanted to apply this experiment to painting, raising similar questions on style over technique and interpretation over translation. My chosen painters would each be given a painting to ‘copy’, the resulting work then passed onto another painter, creating an ever-growing and evolving chain of shifts and surprises. I was curious to see what would be left of the original and what each artist would bring of their own. ‘Multiples’ had thus triggered ‘Whispers’, somehow making this latter a whisper of the former.
Through this project, the curator challenges the idea of an ‘original’ and aims to make visible each artist’s unique voice, or as Thirlwell would say, their ‘soul’. In an essay that de Monseignat commissioned Thirlwell to write for the exhibition catalogue, Thirlwell states: “Let’s say there are two basic rules: there is no sin worse than copying; and there is only copying. The history of art is a movement between these two oxymoronic rules. […] The question at stake whenever an art work is copied is the question of the soul.” (A. Thirlwell, ‘Whispers’, Exhibition Catalogue, Edited by A. de Monseignat, Published by Ronchini, 2015)
Top left: Tom Howse, Whisper 4 (detail), Courtesy of the artist and Ronchini Gallery
Top Right: Howard Tangye, Whisper 6 (detail), Courtesy of the artist and Ronchini Gallery
Bottom left: Vanessa Garwood, Whisper 9 (detail), Courtesy of the artist and Ronchini Gallery
Bottom right: Amy Gadney, Whisper 8 - (detail), Courtesy of the artist and Ronchini Gallery
About the curator
Adeline de Monseignat (b. 1987) is a Dutch-Monegasque artist based in London, represented by Ronchini Gallery. Her sculptural works investigate ways in which inanimate objects can trigger emotional responses and even hold a sense of presence and life. Adeline has a BA in Language and Culture, UCL (2009), and an MA in Fine Art, City & Guilds of London Art School (with Distinction, 2011). Selected exhibitions include: ‘Points of Contact’ at Cob Gallery (2015), ‘Home’ solo show at Ronchini (2014), ‘Articulate’ curated by Jeremy Lewison at Victoria Miro (2013), ‘The London Project’ curated by Gerson Zevi at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2013), ‘The Uncanny’ curated by James Putnam at Ronchini Gallery (2013), 'Dead Inside' curated by Max Wolf and Meghan Carleton at Bleecker St Arts Club, New York (2013), 'The Future Can Wait' curated by Zavier Ellis at Victoria House (2013), 'Dividing Line' curated by Sumarria Lunn at High House Gallery (2012), 'The Threadneedle Prize' at the Mall Galleries (2012). Selected prizes include: Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Awards (2013), Fack! West London Art Prize (2013), The Catlin Art Prize (Visitor Prize Winner, 2012) and Arcadia Missa Gallery Prize (2011).