Barbara Vujanovic (ITP 2016) reports on the Rodin spotlight loan’s final venue!

Barbara Vujanović (ITP 2016, Croatia) Senior Curator, The Ivan Meštrović Museums – Meštrović Atelier, Zagreb

The last leg of the Spotlight Loan project’s exhibition Rodin: rethinking the fragment took me to the West Midlands. The exhibition was hosted in the New Art Gallery Walsall where it was, thanks to wonderful Collections Curator, Julie Brown, included in the exciting project that coincided with the “Sculpture in Focus” project, which marked the 60th anniversary of Jacob Epstein’s death. In that manner, the exhibition was also linked with the Daniel Silver’s exhibition, which underlined, to a great extent, the influence of the fragments on modern – that is contemporary art. The way that two exhibitions overlapped, and how Julie enhanced the Rodin exhibition with the objects from her collection worked perfectly with the subject of this Spotlight Loan project.

The two exhibitions were opened on the same night and I was excited to meet my colleagues from the British Museum on that occasion – Ian Jenkins, Joe Edwards, Claire Messenger, Eleanor Chant and Sophie Szynaka, and of course Pippa Stephenson from the Glasgow Museums.

I was amazed by the richness of the New Art Gallery Walsall’s collection, with Julie’s enthusiasm and her inventive approach. She prepared the leaflet for the Rodin exhibition and its complete design (labels, panels, poster) was related to the layout of the “Sculpture in Focus” project. The whole set up was elegant and minimalistic, beautifully arranged within the building, designed by the Caruso St John architects. She even organized the filming of a short video, which accompanies our exhibition in which I gladly participated. Julie Brown was a perfect host to Pippa Stephenson and me. She showed us all the current exhibitions, permanent collection and reserves. I was delighted to hear the results of Pippa’s research on the connections between Rodin and the Burrell Collection during our curatorial talks, which will shed a new light on Rodin’s ties with the United Kingdom.

After Walsall, I went to the vibrant Birmingham, where I visited, among other things, Women Power Protest exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which was designed by Kerry Leslie – the same designer who worked with Julie on the “Sculpture in Focus” project. I am really satisfied with the way this project was finished. Julie Brown achieved the absolute maximum with the exhibition, giving it her full professional attention and all her passion. Also, my dear colleagues from the British Museum saw the exhibition, which we had been working on for almost two years. I am thankful to them and to all the colleagues who weren’t there, but who helped me with the project – Rebecca Horton and Jessica Juckes.