As part of the Professional Practice units supporting the staging of ‘Critical Paths’, the Visual Arts Summer Show 2017, the students were visited by two curators, both of whom toured the exhibition, discussing the work in detail and the art world in general. Most recently, we welcomed Anabelle Görgen, Curator at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, who was also visiting West Dean to conduct her own research in the Edward James Archive. Annabelle not only toured the Summer Show but also gave a fascinating evening talk on her role in curating the international touring exhibition, Surreal Encounters – Collecting the Marvellous. Co-organised with the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the exhibition (which West Dean students visited in its final iteration in Rotterdam during their Spring study trip) brought together some of the finest Surrealist works of art from four legendary collections, those of Roland Penrose, Gabrielle Keiller, Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch, and of course, West Dean College founder Edward James.
The second visit to ‘Critical Paths’ was from Candida Stevens, a curator and gallerist based in Chichester, with whom many West Dean alumni have exhibited. Candida also toured the Summer Show, discussing each student’s choice of presentation as part of an informal and wide-ranging discussion about making art in a variety of professional contexts. Our grateful thanks to both Candida and Annabelle for their invaluable contributions to the Shows.