Outside of art gallery, white concrete walls


Peter Lewis


Exhibitions (M)

Curating, Digital

/seconds at the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (October 10 2014 - December 09 2014)

Curation, Publishing, Online, Archive, Journal, Networks, Exhibition


/seconds is a large-scale curatorial project which intersects the fields of new media, publishing and the archiving of contemporary art in the internet age. Lewis’s contribution to the field is an original model, an online journal (www.slashseconds.co.uk), which questions the role of curatorship in digital spaces by reversing the exhibition and publication process, starting instead with online publication.

In 2014, Lewis curated a substantial exhibition which was held at the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), featuring 150 artists from the journal, which has, since its launch, showcased the work of nearly 2000 artists. The /seconds exhibition transposed artworks from digital space into the gallery, which led to new research insights about the relationship between curation and publishing practice. The journal, which positions the ‘global network’ as a space of engagement between artists and the public, also presents an assemblage of text, visual and soundbased work, and acts as an ever-materialising platform.

The exhibition, installed by the Foundation’s exhibition team of 70, was accompanied by the launch of the /seconds catalogue, which included essays translated into English and Arabic. The catalogue launch at SAF, an internationally important foundation, and a curator’s talk was held at The Jam Jar, Dubai. Throughout the exhibition, a series of educational tours maximised impact.

/seconds was seen by 1500 people at the preview and a further 5000 for the duration of the exhibition1. For this work, Lewis was nominated for the Global Fine Art Award (2015), in the category of Contemporary and Post-War art. Other impacts include: a broadcast for Resonance FM for which Lewis was interviewed by Fari Bradley, a newscast on Sharjah TV, which conveyed the scale of the project, and international press (The National; Art Rabbit). In its online format /seconds continues to reach worldwide audiences with an average of 612,470 unique visitors per annum.

The exhibition /seconds, in its conception echoes the desire to articulate the universal, as a new and provocative conception and, more profoundly, about the general conditions for articulating a new truth about the present time. /seconds has curated over 100 artists posters and 40 video works, for this exhibition, selected from the commissioning of the journal since 2004. The works chosen by Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi, Director of the Foundation and Peter Lewis, explore cultural productions in global culture, whose space and time has been accelerated by the Internet, through the temporal immediacy of audiovisual transmissions.

Global Fine Art Awards

Peter Lewis’s exhibition /seconds is a visual onslaught of chaos and collage. The walls are covered from ceiling to floor with poster-sized images, some newly produced for the show and some taken from his online archive. In the centre of the room are bizarre, seemingly unconnected installations, which vary from digitised woven images of scientists to a lifesize model of an astronaut with an animal’s skull round its neck. After talking to the curator for some time, I become convinced that this is the physical version of the internet – this is what it would be like to walk through the myriad pages of content that we browse every day.’ – Seaman, A. (2014) ‘Sharjah Art Foundation brings together three distinctive new exhibitions.

The National posted 13 October 2014

Funding credits

Sharjah Art FoundationUAE GovernmentSharjah Islamic Cultural CapitalLeeds BeckettAHRC