Every year students on the MA in Contemporary Art curate a show in the Cookhouse Gallery at Chelsea College of Art and Design, featuring work by students on the MA Fine Art programme at Chelsea. This is a voluntary project and, for those who take part, the culmination of year-long conversations with artists at Chelsea.
The 6th Sense was an exhibition curated by the Institute's MA in Contemporary Art students, Cecily Quinn and Francesca Christodoulou. It was an exploration of the sensory effects in the works of a select group of MA Fine Art students from the Chelsea College of Art. As the viewer twisted and turned through a vast array of sensorial happenings, they were enveloped in a unique aesthetic phantasmagoria. Full of tactile, audible and toothsome stimuli, this exhibition hoped to open up the viewer’s mind to the experience of art beyond sight alone, and into one that was embodied and all-encompassing.
"Fine artists, and those given to enjoyment and criticism of visual arts [...] are seen as exponents of the trained eye. They [...] pretend to know how to look, and how to draw the highest semiological and visual satisfaction from that looking. Their total dependency on sight has almost entirely negated the senses of touch, hearing, taste and smell in an artwork". - Willem Boshoff
In The 6th Sense, the curatorial aim was to explore the gallery space’s natural light, acoustics, and shape to facilitate a comprehensive sensorial journey. From musical performances to playful interactive object-based works and a wall of gum chewed by visitors, the show took the viewer on a journey through each of the senses, and then some. A cardboard play on VR forced the viewer into the "6th sense" while a musical performance, arranged according to participants’ drawing in real-time, equally brought the viewer, as participant and maker, to the forefront. The show endeavoured to present sensory splendour as a way to create a new feeling; in an attempt to rewrite what it means to experience art in the gallery space.