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Anglia Ruskin University fine art students have moved what was to be an art exhibition staged on an indoor balcony to Instagram.

Jenny Seabrook's 'Plastering Over It' from This is not a balcony (show)
Jenny Seabrook's 'Plastering Over It' from This is not a balcony (show)

In these uncertain times, a group of ARU fine art students have moved what was to be an art exhibition staged on an indoor balcony to Instagram.

This is not a balcony (show) – a takeover of @cambridge_school_of_art – is now available to view on Instagram. This follows a preview which took place on the social media site earlier this month.

With current Covid-19 restrictions in mind, seven MA fine art students at Cambridge School of Art – part of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) – have taken their work outside the gallery.

Sarah Strachan's 'Life and Death of Materials' at This is not a balcony (show)
Sarah Strachan's 'Life and Death of Materials' at This is not a balcony (show)

Their exhibition, conceived for installation on a balcony at the School of Art, could have provided the perfect solution to the current guidance to only meet outside.

The architectural feature of a balcony is, after all, defined as “a platform enclosed by a wall or balustrade on the outside of a building”.

Stepanka Facerova's 'Nature Encrypted in Barcodes' from This is not a balcony (show)
Stepanka Facerova's 'Nature Encrypted in Barcodes' from This is not a balcony (show)

But, if you were to try and track it down on the outside of Cambridge School of Art, you would not have much luck.

That is because the balcony is in fact on the inside of the Ruskin Gallery so if a balcony, like the students and the public in general, should be hanging out outside, why is it inside?

There is perhaps a clue in the Ruskin Gallery’s 111-year-old history and its former role as the assembly hall for the School of Arts and Crafts.

This is not a balcony (show) preview
This is not a balcony (show) preview

Whatever the reason, the balcony has become a source of inspiration for the next batch of MA fine art students – Nur Akyildiz, Kira Barnard, Anna Dermitzaki, Stepanka Facerova, Shanielle Monangai, Jenny Seabrook and Sarah Strachan – in playfully curating their exhibition This is not a balcony (show) – now postponed, in person at least, until after lockdown.

Jenny Seabrook's artwork, 'Home', from This is not a balcony (show)
Jenny Seabrook's artwork, 'Home', from This is not a balcony (show)

Shanielle Monangai said: “History is creatively re-imagined, despite Covid-19 restrictions, as an affirmative presentation: This is not a balcony (show) Instagram preview and takeover.

“It changes the narrative centring the artworks of MA fine art students outside the gallery, replacing how narratives are weaved and artworks viewed and entwined.

“In waiting for the chance to exhibit art at Cambridge School of Art, we, MA fine art, take over. Manifesting a possible future is not only imagined but approaching.”

Sarah Strachan added that the Instagram page includes lots of artwork, artist interviews and preview videos, and will continue to have works added to it as time goes on – until hopefully it can take place in the location for which it was originally intended: the indoor balcony at Cambridge School of Art.

Sarah Strachan, front, and Nur Akyildiz are two of the artists showing their work online. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sarah Strachan, front, and Nur Akyildiz are two of the artists showing their work online. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We’re still hoping to exhibit our work on the balcony in the Ruskin Gallery in the coming months,” she said.

Until then, the exhibition can be viewed on Instagram at @thisisnotabalconyshow and @cambridge_school_of_art.

Follow the artists via #thisisnotabalconyshow or #thisisnotabalcony.

Anyone without Instagram who wants to find out more about the exhibition can email thisisnotabalconyshow@gmail.com.



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