The Language of Contemporary Art by Melanie Pocock

20 November 2021


This course has ended. Please register below to stay up to date with our events and courses in the future.

    Camille Henrot, Office of unreplied emails, 2016-17, digital prints on silicone, wooden racks, rubber floor covering. Image courtesy of LASALLE College of the Arts.

    Interested to develop confidence in speaking about and engaging deeply with contemporary art and exhibitions? This full-day course will explore art as a source of meaning. Activities based on group discussions will focus on vocabulary, ideas and context.

    Your Destination:
    Express your views with clarity and confidence. Be equipped to engage in enriching conversations about the meaning of contemporary art and its role in society.

    Course Outline

    Part I: Starting points
    3:00–3:30 pm

    Course leader Melanie Pocock introduces starting points for thinking and talking about contemporary art. Where does meaning come from? How do wider society, culture and economics shape the language of contemporary art? How can attendees apply their personal experience and knowledge to contemporary art – whatever their background and profession?


    Part II: Vocabulary (Part A)

    This session looks at specific vocabulary associated with mediums of contemporary art. Focusing on visual and material analysis, Pocock applies terms such as “figure”, “ground”, “brushwork”, “edition”, “performative” and “durational” to a broad range of painting, photography, textile, printmaking, sculpture, installation, moving image, performance, digital art and sound.

    Afternoon tea

    Part II: Vocabulary (Part B)

    A continuation of the content listed in Part II: Vocabulary (Part A)

    Part III: Interpreting exhibitions
    6:00–7:00 pm

    How is language used in exhibitions? Attendees are guided through the purpose and information provided by thematic titles, exhibition introductions, wall labels, timelines, exhibition guides and catalogues. Differences in content and format between museums, commercial galleries, art fairs, outdoor and alternative art spaces are explored.

    Participants can opt to receive a bonus, follow-up 30 minute one-on-one practice with Melanie Pocock, centred on conversation and vocabulary.

    S$800 for the full day course. S$3000 for an all access pass to all our past and future programmes of The Chapters. 50% of your ticket will be donated to Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.

    An afternoon tea set will be delivered to attendees in Singapore.

    Every attendee of our courses is entitled to a free consultation with our team on starting or developing a collection.

    In partnership with:

    Melanie Pocock
    Melanie Pocock is Curator of Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK. Together with Director Jonathan Watkins, she is responsible for the gallery’s artistic programme of exhibitions, commissions and publications. Prior to joining Ikon, Melanie was the Assistant Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2014–19). A member of the International Association of Art Critics, her writing has been published in international publications and media including ArtAsiaPacific, Art Monthly, Frieze, Ocula, Journal of Curatorial Studies and The Financial Times. As an educator, she has delivered various lectures and courses on contemporary art. Melanie has more than 10 years’ professional experience in Europe and Asia.

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