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Iniva’s Window Commission – Interview with Tessa Jackson

Guest blogger and Inivator Tara Brown interviews CEO Tessa Jackson about Iniva’s annual Window Commission

 For four years Iniva at Rivington Place have curated unique window commissions during the Christmas season. Commissions are taken from international artists, who have in the past used the huge windows at Rivington place to give an alternative and contemporary message for the people of Shoreditch.

I was very lucky to quickly interview Tessa Jackson, chief exec of Iniva, about this year’s commission:

Why do you do a window commission each year? How did it start?
We do not hold exhibitions over the Christmas period for a number of reasons and so it is a good way of continuing our commitment to artists and discussions around their work, while the building is closed.  This is our 4th Window commission, so there has been one for every year since Rivington Place opened.
 
Do you find the visitor experience for the window commission different to that of the typical / white cube experience?
Yes it is different, and the purpose of the commission is giving the artist the opportunity to speak to the street directly about something they feel is important.

How was the experience of curating a window show? What were the challenges and rewards?
Thinking of artists who will make the most of what is quite a particular opportunity is key.  The work can be in any medium but of course cannot be too three dimensional physically. Also it is a large and imposing window so the artist needs to take on the challenge of its scale with something that will give impact beyond the day to day clutter of the street.
 
Does your window commission take inspiration from other commissions?
No, not knowingly.  The opportunity presented itself and Iniva has taken it from there.  Of course asking an artist to make / create something specifically is a privilege and a delight!

What’s your take on this year’s commission by Abdoulaye Konaté?
I am thrilled by Abdoulaye Konaté’s response – a serious and significant subject proposed in an aesthetically sensitive way;  for example he has picked up on the David Adjaye’s design of the building with his use of greys.  He is referring to the plumage of the guinea fowl but the work considers its site, how the public will see it; Power and Religion contains is extraordinarily majestic.
 
How do you think the commission may develop and change in the future?
Who knows!  The main thing is to give open opportunities to artists so they can make unusual propositions.  For our part it is important that Iniva selects artists who can make the most of our Window Commission.

Find out more about Window Commissions past and current

A sneak preview of this year’s window commission…

This year for Iniva’s 5th annual window commission we are very pleased to be showing a work by Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté ‘Power and Religion’.

It took a few pairs of hands to install this 7 metre textile artwork into the narrow space in Rivington Place’s vast street facing window, but we think its going to be the star attraction of Rivington Street throughout December! Here is a sneak preview of the work, a few days before its unveiling to the public on the 7th.

 

Find out more about the work which reflects on the relationship in Africa between power and religion – the position of Christianity and Islam within political and cultural life here. The artist will be in conversation with writer Coline Milliard on 6 December – book your place.

Read an article about the work in production here and you can see images from the artist’s studio here.