This project focused on an exploration of the poetics of the fragment and the unfinished: that the fragment has the potential to restore our embodied relationship to the world is essential to an understanding of these examples of art practice. ‘Waiting Room’, brought together emerging and established artists selected from the East Midlands region, with audiences at x-church in Gainsborough, around the common theme of the unfinished artwork in contemporary art practice.
The unfinished works in this project sustained a temporary relationship to situation – to the immediacy of condition and surroundings and its own presence.
There are many historical examples of unfinished works where the hand of fate has played a key role but few examples of the unfinished as a deliberate artistic strategy. This speaks to our condition as humans as it preserves a provisionality that is essential to its interpretation and appreciation (Bishop 2004: 51-79). The exhibition comprised artists encountered during recent field work and who are actively exploring the unfinished as a device of constructive engagement.
The project built on the artistic aims of my Slumgothic residency at x-church, especially the notion of ‘putting art in people’s way’ and the idea of a work’s provisionality. Such works seem to await completion by an imagined ideal viewer, reader, player, actor etc. and provide a useful platform to produce case study exploring audience encounters with the work and notions of ‘completeness’.
The x-church user/visitor was a vital component of the project and x-church’s aim to engage. The project will contribute to a current trend in contemporary art practice that occupies the form of the unfinished project as a strategic mode of productive engagement and renewal (ibid.) and resulted in a paper presented at the international conference ‘Sharing Cultures’ Lagos, 21-23 September 2015. The project is now part of x-church’s new phase of development – ‘the resident curator’ – and included within their new vision for arts and culture in Gainsborough.