Kapwani Kiwanga @ Esker Foundation (Calgary)

2018 Sobey Art Award winner Kapwani Kiwanga’s installation, A wall is just a wall (and nothing more at all), was featured at the Esker Foundation in Calgary from February to May 2018. The work discussed controlling elements of man-made architecture, design, and infrastructure. The gallery’s open floor plan was rearranged to create a suggested path of movement through the graphic, colourful, and heavily researched install. Black and white archival photographs of interior spaces were folded along the back wall and floor of the west side of the gallery. These represented Kapwani’s critique of archival materials that are meant to advance research and promote knowledge, within heavily controlled environments of sterility.

We worked closely with Elizabeth Diggon, Esker’s assistant curator, to find materials suitable for folding. Some papers are better than others at being folded. We were conscious of that fact during advisory and subsequent testing. Kapwani’s installation was about cleanliness and precision, so we wanted the final result to reflect that. Elizabeth involved us early on and was prepared. She knew the final images would be digitally delivered very close to opening night. In response, we ran tests early, ensured the paper was stocked once chosen, and amped up staffing around the delivery date. Elizabeth said that she was thankful for the advice and level of insight during the planning of this project.

With one of the delivered images, we saw a gap in expectation and final delivery of the print. This happens, and we want the customer to make an informed decision. Elizabeth was told right away, she sourced another file, and we again prepared for expedited printing. She told us that she was thankful for our timeliness in problem solving along the way. The final prints were installed by Kapwani, and looked clean and seamless as part of the exhibition.

photo : Elyse Bouvier
photo : Elyse Bouvier
photo : Elyse Bouvier