Paper, Table, Wall and After, was curated by Siân Bowen and Chris Dorsett, and featured work by 38 invited artists who over the preceding four-year period had contributed to the research and teaching at Paper Studio Northumbria – PSN. These included staff from Fine Art, Paper Conservation and Critical Theory; PhD candidates; Graduate and Associate Fellows; artists in residence; alumni; academic visitors; AA2A artists; and colleagues from DIT, Dublin, and Lancaster, Newcastle and Ulster Universities. Two discrete exhibitions were staged of work by the same group of artists, the first in Gallery North, Northumbria University in 2014/15 and the second in 2015 in the gallery of the National Taiwan University of Arts, Taipei.
Both exhibitions explored ‘not only how contemporary artists utilise the special properties of paper but also how the passage of paper-based artworks across studio tables and gallery walls can lead to an unknown ‘after’, a contingent world only tentatively related to the immediate concerns of viewing an exhibition’. However, for the second show in Taiwan all participants were invited to make a work on paper that could be folded to the size of an Ordnance Survey map. The remit was not to make a map as such but rather to create a work which could be folded and unfolded and through which visual information might be hidden and/or revealed. The folding of a large sheet of paper also made it more transportable as an object – an object that moves easily between two and three-dimensionality.
In Taiwan the works were mainly installed across the floor of the gallery encouraging an intimate encounter with the work for the audience with visitors crouching, kneeling or sitting in order to explore the pieces. Conversations developed about the way in which this form of installation blurred the boundaries between making and viewing – and also held a resonance with the manner in which large works of calligraphy and Chinese ink painting are often created flat and whilst kneeling.