top of page


From One Misunderstanding to Another

This exhibition forms part of the FLUXUS project conducted by students from The Margate School and L’École Supérieure d’Art et Design Le Havre-Rouen (ESADHaR). The project is a virtual art collaboration of remote instructions and interpretation between the two Schools, with students from each School exchanging and interpreting ‘instructions’ from the other.

From One Misunderstanding to Another— The exhibition will be on display in The Margate School's exhibition space from the 8th—16th December, 10am—4pm.

Through a series of workshops led by artist Ian Bottle in Margate and Katja Gentric in Rouen, students have articulated and interpreted the instructions in a series of works and performances, culminating in this exhibition.

Mechanical reproduction has been extended by digital reproduction, mechanical transportation by digital transportation. Since scientists discovered how to transport the wave function of a particle, we can dream of teleportation. We know now it is more important to know the ‘recipe’ than to have the object, with the ‘recipe’ one can reproduce the object at will.

Some conceptual artists understood the power of the ‘recipe’, instructions of what and how to transform it as an aesthetical procedure. Lawrence Weiner, Sol LeWitt, Elaine Sturtevant worked with tight processes and rules. Could we extend this to larger art dialogue and send recipes to make art? Scientific research and engineering applications made ‘teleportation’, currently via means of digital communication possible. This concerns the means, transportation, here still virtual, which can be exploited in the arts.

Yet, there is also a difference between the scientific aim and the artistic aim, the former seeks to reduce the room for interpretation and thus misunderstanding. The latter seeks to explore the space of possibilities of interpretation, playing with the misunderstanding or ‘Vieldeutigkeit’. The laboratory becomes an environment of complete control of the variables, the studio the place of the complicity of the variable. And yet again, both thrive on the discovery of the unexpected.

The Margate School and its Masters programme (DNSEP), Art, Society, Nature, in collaboration with L’École Supérieure d’Art et Design Le Havre-Rouen operates in a space of transportation and misunderstanding, in it we find ourselves in the act of interpretation, assigning symbols to other systems of symbols (Charles Peirce), be it in the learning, the making or the wider cultural process. Socially that space makes room for social bonding. We speak two languages embedded in French and English cultures peppered with cosmopolitan aspirations and imagination. This in itself makes a lot of occasion for misunderstanding. Art interpretation is a misunderstanding too, there are so many interpretations possible and we need the freedom to misunderstand and assume the responsibility for our interpretation.

There is a further aspect to the making of art and instruction. The project will seek to raise critical awareness of the interrelated dimensions of the art production and business world which increasingly relies on the so-called ‘fabricators’, working behind the scenes of the multi-million-pound art shows, the ‘glitz and glory’. As Nancy Hass provocatively put it (NYT, June 22, 2018) “Are Fabricators the Most Important People in the Art World?” And Artwork reports: “Fabricators are translators…. fabricators can translate concepts into reality; they are invested in honoring the intent of the artist. But it’s important to ask yourself, can you trust someone to interpret your intent?

Our European Fine Art MA: Art, Society, Nature is currently open for applications. Learn more about the course, including how to apply here