a moment of your time by Maria Amidu

Each conversation was unpredictable, some lasted longer than others, most were one to one with adults, some were with families with children or a group of friends. The issue of materialism became the favourite, and I think this had something to do with the intrigue and wonder of the artwork but also what I perceived as a social anxiety about what we are told we need, who suffers and who benefits from our purchasing choices and as one visitor put it “to hoard or not to hoard?’ What is this compulsion to collect?

Maria Amidu, 2013

For this commission, we were interested in examining and exploring how art enables us to question our own values, morality and the way that we live our lives. The brief asked the artist to engage with artworks or artefacts from the exhibition Curiosity: Art, Wonder and the Pleasures of Knowing, at Turner Contemporary, Margate. Devoted to wonder, awe and mystery in contemporary art and beyond, Curiosity drew on the rich tradition of the Cabinet of Curiosity, revealing surprising meetings between art and science, and exploring the ways that artists today mine themes of fascination, inquiry, obsession, monstrosity and invention.

The exhibition was a Hayward Touring and Turner Contemporary exhibition curated by Brian Dillon, in association with Cabinet magazine.

Maria Amidu, created a dialogic artwork, a moment of your time exploring and revealing what people have in common through conversations about the objects she had selected from the exhibition. As she writes in her final blog by copying their words into a large-scale tracing of the objects she wanted to “visually demonstrate the ‘weight’ of the commonality between the public through the words they used’.

Maria has created a beautiful, limited edition book that documenting the responses of a selection of gallery goers who took part.


Extract From Maria’s Blog

I was commissioned by People United and Turner Contemporary to produce a new work in response to the objects in the gallery’s summer 2013 exhibition Curiosity: Art & the Pleasures of Knowing. I was asked to select one work to explore how art enables us to question our values, morality and the way we live our lives.

The approach I decide to take was based around investigating the role of the gallery as a meeting point. A gallery and the exhibitions it curates draw many different people yet little dialogue goes on between strangers when they are looking at works in a show. Often people occupy the space in a silent, private, disconnected way. Some common interest – values, curiosity or wonder has brought a disparate group into a public space, yet most often everyone leaves having no notion of what they may share with the people they have spent an hour or more with.

I devised a dialogic artwork, which I called a moment of your time. The intention was to reveal what people have in common by initiating random conversations with visitors to the gallery about the object I’d selected from the exhibition. By transcribing their words into a large-scale tracing of my chosen object I hoped to visually demonstrate the ‘weight’ of the commonality between the public through the words they used…

Read more of Maria’s blog


Funded & supported by:

The Artist: Maria Amidu

A visual artist, Maria will use participatory practice to explore and reveal the commonality of values between visitors to Turner Contemporary. Maria's artistic practice explores the social relationships between people mediated by objects and places.

Some questions revealing a bit more about Maria Amidu

  1. What is your favourite word and why? It's impossible to choose one, so today I'd say it's impromptu - for how it is said, how it sounds and how it looks; and how impulse and spontaneity can just be exactly what is required sometimes.
  2. Why did you apply for the commission, and what made you choose values? Because it felt like the perfect fit. Values won out during the "which theme to choose dilemma" because of object and place.
  3. What was the most recent thing someone taught you? Talking to Professor Stuart Hall who gave me an impromptu lesson about Antonio Gramsci: 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will'.
  4. What is your favourite film and why? Central Station, dir. Walter Salles because it speaks so clearly about the following: journeys, words, letters, impulse, empathy, connection, trust, love, belonging, humour, instinct, humanity, life.
  5. What came first the chicken or the egg? The Zen Buddhists would say that it's the chicken that creates the egg from which it was born...
A moment of your time (Person number 9), by Maria Amidu
Materialism by Maria Amidu
 Ethics (detail) by Maria Amidu
Train seminar, by Maria Amidu