Nottingham Contemporary Exhibition Review

Photography Exhibition Review

The small collections room within Nottingham Contemporary  has been transformed into a three dimensional travelogue. Amsterdam based artist Jacqueline Bebb exhibits her work: ‘Then, if you are lucky, even you leave‘, presenting her 2000 mile road trip in July 2014 to Washington, USA in order to visit locations associated with Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. Nirvana was an Amercian rock band formed by the singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain.
Bebb is absorbed in the concept of the travelogue as a form of self-representation, and a way to record and re-tell the stories of self-exploration through her travel.

I am writing this review for those interested in the artist Jacqueline Bebb, and also those in and around Nottingham who enjoy viewing art exhibitions. I would propose that only those in the area would be intruiged in seeing the exhibition, Bebb is not a well known artist but I recommend viewing if you want to see something interestingly different. A long distance travel would not be worth it in my opinion unless of course you are a fan of Bebb’s work.

The exhibition room had three walls, made of dark wood, and no door. The flooring was also dark wood. As I walked in to the minuscule room, Bebb had created a three-dimensional portrayal of her time traveling the USA by using three wooden cabinets with intriguing drawers and secret openings to display her collection. Spot lights were placed on each cabinet. The resulting travelogue is made up of various texts, notes and biographical pieces placed alongside a series of photographs she has produced into photobooks that she took during the journey at the various homes and places of interest in the life of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Within the draws and hidden sections of the wooden cabinets, Bebb presents a mass of objects which she collected and created during her trip including those such as: t-shirts, a rental car receipt, her diary, drawings, a map of Oregon, and photobooks placed carefully opened on specific pages. I couldn’t touch anything within the draws due to a glass covering, which was likely used to protect her beloved travelogue, but was bothersome to viewers like myself as we all prefer to touch the object whilst viewing it, it creates a better and lasting experience. I think that the exhibition room may have lacked some help and guidance for viewers explaining the content of the collection and what was in the draws. Perhaps a map or script of the draws could have helped.


As a photographer, this body of work made me feel a mixture of emotions and thoughts. My first reaction when walking into the small exhibition room was of interest, the exhibition was visibly different.  Whilst I didn’t think that the exhibition was particularly strong or striking in content, it was for me an interesting one. I ended my thoughts believing the layout of the exhibition was an intriguingly clever idea having placed the collection inside a chest of draws. I do question why Bebb did this, although I am yet to find an answer. There seems to be little about this exhibition created by Bebb on the internet to help. Thanks to the layout of the exhibition being very different to anything I’ve seen before, this persuaded me to write a review on it. It inspired me to think about what I can take away from this and implement into my own work, other ways I could creatively display my work.