The John Hansard Gallery Central is the University of Southampton’s new off-site gallery. Situated in the city centre the studio will host a number of exhibits over the next year all in preparation for a brand new arts complex due to open in Guildhall Square 2015.
Currently Hetain Patel’s ‘Love and Marriage‘ occupies the gallery, a follow-up from his time as artist-in-residence last year, part of ‘Bollywood Barrat’. A project from Art Asia in partnership with City Eye, The Nuffield Theatre and John Hansard Gallery.
I arrived about 15 minutes early, the gallery has a grey-blue banner in line with the Highfield site, the inside contained only a few unfurled rolls of paper. I took the opportunity to visit Asda, conveniently close, expecting the exhibition to be fully prepared once I returned.
After a quick shop nothing had changed, a group of students stood outside checking their watches, whispering to each other “Is this it?”. It was! The entirety of the exhibit was nine giant rolls of paper, if I wanted to encourage my friends that modern art could be interesting this isn’t where I would take them. Having said that, there was some meaning to be found in the art.
Hetain interviewed a mix of single, engaged and married British-Asians on the subject of Love and Marriage. He then reordered every word of their reasoned into an alphabetised list. Looking at the sheets set out like poems gives the viewer an interesting interpretation of the conversation. Only knowing the broad subject one might ask why do some sheets not contain the word ‘love’? What was one of the interviewees talking about when they mentioned A-levels? And who really thinks that much?