Monthly Archives: July 2014

BP Portrait Award 2014

This year two members of CCW research staff, Professor Eileen Hogan and Reader Mark Fairnington, have been selected to show in the BP Portrait Award 2014. The exhibition, held annually at the National Portrait Gallery ‘showcases fifty-five of the most outstanding and innovative new portraits from around the world. From informal and personal studies of friends and family to revealing images of famous faces, the exhibition features a variety of styles and approaches to the contemporary painted portrait. The works on display, selected from a record-breaking 2,377 entries, include the winner of the £30,000 first prize as well as the work of the BP Young Artist 2014 and the BP Travel Award 2013 winners.

Now in its twenty-fifth year of sponsorship by BP, and thirty-fifth year at the National Portrait Gallery, the Portrait Award is the most prestigious international portrait painting competition and the free exhibition continues to be an unmissable highlight of the annual art calendar.’

Adam Phillips

Adam Phillips in memory of Jane Brodie by Eileen Hogan [right panel], 2013 © Eileen Hogan

Hogan’s sitter is Adam Phillips, profiled in 2013 in the New Yorker, which described him as Britain’s foremost psychoanalytical writer. It was commissioned (a legacy) by the late children’s lawyer, Jane Brodie, a mutual friend of Hogan’s and of Phillips’ and is painted in her memory. Hogan has previously appeared in the BP Portrait Award with her portraits of Ian Hamilton Finlay (2007), Lady Sainsbury of Preston Candover (2009) and Paul Ruddock (2012).

The Twins

The Twins (Lee and Jason) by Mark Fairnington, 2013 © Mark Fairnington

Fairnington is showing ‘a diptych of my sons Lee and Jason. I am making one painting a year of the boys. In the last few years the focus of my research has shifted from natural history collections towards the human subject. Some of the central themes, however, still persist such as moments where the idea of the specimen, the representative, overlaps with the individual and the specific. I have avoided using the word “portrait” to describe the new paintings as this contextualises them in a particular way and within a certain history. They are paintings of people. However, I was interested to see what they looked like in relation to paintings that are clearly identified as portraits. The BP Portrait Award is a place where this happens.

Lee and Jason are twins and they are redheads. They don’t usually wear the same clothes. In my paintings they are wearing their wetsuits, a graphic image that immediately links the paintings, making the similarities between the boys very clear and immediate. The differences emerge slowly: body posture, how they hold their heads, the slope of the shoulders, the hand gestures. The paintings are peculiarly still given the whirlwind dynamism that characterises the boys’ daily lives.’

adlerandgibb.com

As a companion to Tim Crouch’s recent production, Adler & Gibb, at the Royal Court Theatre, five Camberwell students on the BA Graphic Design course were invited to create the website for the fictional artists, Janet Adler and Margaret Gibb. Crouch initially contacted CCW Professor, Jane Collins, to ask if she could recommend students to become involved. Collins, in turn, approached BA Graphic Design Course Leader, Tracey Waller, who suggested Stefan Graham, Vanessa Periam, Nisha Gouveia, Taylee Morris and Mai Trinh.

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Graham recounted the experience, saying, ‘It was an interesting process, working with Tim Crouch to create a website supporting the possible existence of the two artists who are central to the play. Beginning by reading the script, we “created” their lives primarily through magazine and newspaper archive images. We arranged them in combination with other images that might suggest certain details of their lives, but not explicitly explaining anything. The group then decided that this would be the way the website would distribute information, allowing the user to draw their own conclusions as to what happened in the artists’ lives, based on the arrangements of images. At many points during the project we were so engrossed in image sourcing and arranging, that we were talking about Adler and Gibb as if they really did exist, wondering whether this image was a piece of work they made or whether they knew Andy Warhol!

What made this project enjoyable to work on was that Tim allowed us freedom to create the most appropriate website for the ideas that were needed to be communicated, rather than coming with a preconceived idea of how Adler and Gibb’s stories should unfold. It’s great to be offered such freedom from a client in that respect. It also opened my eyes to conceptual theatre and the parallels it had with certain ideas that are debated within the field of graphic design.’

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Periam said, ‘Working on the Adler & Gibb website was a great learning experience for me personally – as I had no prior experience of either making a website, or working for somebody outside of the college. The project proved to be one of the best things that I worked on during final year. The website, as an addition to the play, explores the lives of conceptual artists Janet Adler and Margaret Gibb in 1970s New York. Whilst Adler and Gibb are in fact fictional, the aim of the website was to play with reality, providing potential evidence that they could have existed. This came in the form of four different photo-paths to follow on the website – the existence of the two artists to be completely determined by the viewers themselves.

What made the project so good to work on was the collaboration with Tim Crouch. Allowing us almost complete freedom over how the website worked, he was encouraging and enthusiastic about ideas that we had, giving our involvement in the project so much more meaning than if we had had to follow a strict set of instructions. As a result, working on the website was a very rewarding experience.’

 

Self-organisation and Sewing: Differently Screening with Critical Practice

Members of Critical Practice have been meeting regularly in CCW Graduate School to cut, stitch, sew and assemble a unique Banner of Values. The banner began its construction as part of Critical Practice’s Differently Screening series, which is contributing to the cluster’s ongoing research into the production, performance and propagation of both value and values.

The first Differently Screening took place on 24 May 2014 at the Bread and Rosespub in North Clapham, where a Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union banner hangs above the pool table. The pub is named after a poem written for the 1912 mill workers strike in Massachusetts where women demanded fair pay, or ‘bread’, but also the ‘roses’ of fair treatment and care as well, a protest that led to landmark labour reforms.

This acted as a productive site for our screening of The Women of Brukman, a documentary showing the struggle of a cooperative of predominantly female textile workers in Buenos Aires. During Argentina’s financial crisis, the owners of a suit business abandoned their factory, leaving machinists and others without pay. The women began to self-organise and in this process became aware of their meager salaries in relation to business’ profit for the first time. Despite police raids and the Brukman brothers returning, claiming their right to the factory, the textile workers persisted, forming the 18 de Diciembre cooperative that still runs the business to this day. It is an inspirational story, which has motivated other factories in the same commercial area of Buenos Aires to form similar cooperatives.

During the screening, to the click-cluncking sounds of the Brukman factory’s industrial sewing machines, participants set to work, selecting and cutting words to create the Banner of Values. Those present were invited to consider their personal values in relation to the film, and fabric letters emerged calling for ‘emapthy’, ‘severance’ and ‘security’. An initial discussion before the screening revealed how difficult it can be to talk about personal values in an unknown group. Terms such as ‘equality’ and ‘truth’ ring as too cliched, too trite, to a contemporary ear, having been appropriated by the language of commodification. Yet these words were taken up and reclaimed during the sewing process. The active screening seemed to lend itself to a non-prescriptive approach to spectatorship, with some avidly following the subtitles, some removing themselves from the screening area to concentrate on their stitching and others deciding to work together, voting on ‘collaboration’ as their value.

The screening and banner were devised and organised by CCW PhD students Amy McDonnell and Catherine Long. McDonnell’s own research investigates the space of the social in relation to artists group practices. She has carried out much of her research in Cuba, exploring reasons for forming artists’ collectives in a collectivised society. It has been beneficial to her curatorial research to explore the functioning of groups through shared activity. Sewing together seemed to produce a reflective, non-hierarchical space in which individuals are focused on the task at hand, making interaction less intense, more at ease, in which personal memories, confessions and teasing surface.

With one more sewing session and to go, as one Critical Practice member cannily realised, the banner only lacks ‘integrity’. Then it will be ready to parade.

There are two more screenings planned as part of the Differently Screening series which will take place in public space in the Autumn. In a continued commitment to seeking communities of values, the organisers will be thinking through ‘cycling and sustainability’ as well as ‘financial sustainability and artists’ payment’.

Metod Blejec and Marsha Bradfield, as well as Blanca Regina have documented some of the sewing sessions.

UAL Research Online

UAL Research Online (UALRO) is the Library’s digital, online collection of the research produced by UAL’s faculty. The Library set it up in 2009 and continues to manage it as a service to researchers and a global showcase of UAL’s research. The collection is openly available online, with hundreds of visitors a day coming to browse and download our work, for free. Through UALRO the University accomplishes its goals of raising the profile of research, opening up access to it around the world and preserving it in perpetuity.

Built by the JISC-funded Kultur project, UAL Research Online is the first repository specifically designed for research in creative arts design and media. It currently contains journal articles, monographs, book chapters, conference papers, conference proceedings, exhibitions, video, audio, images and selected post-graduate theses. It is also able to manage software, datasets, workshop presentations, patents and approved PhD theses.

As an Open Access research repository, UAL Research Online satisifes the requirements of many UK funding bodies (e.g.,the UK research councils, the Wellcome Trust and the European Research Council) to make the results of publically-funded research available to the public.

The University also uses UALRO’s collection internally, as it is the only university-wide record of our research outputs. Ideally, researchers only have to enter details of their ongoing research outputs in one place – UALRO – and any other college or university body can then collect this data from UALRO. The collection also feeds into UAL’s REF 2014 submission; starting with the metadata and content in UALRO when the University put together its submission. Indeed, for the next REF, all articles published in academic journals will have to be openly accessible (i.e., downloadable for free, in full) or they cannot be submitted. UALRO is the way to ensure that journal articles are Open Access. Staff should deposit the final version of an article (the version that has been accepted at the end of the peer review process) to UALRO, as well as the published pdf if there is one, and UALRO staff will make sure it satisfies the new requirements.

All staff members at UAL can set up an account at UALRO to deposit their research outputs: written texts, objects, performances, exhibitions, films, etc.  Staff are asked to give a few details about their research output and upload some content (for example, a scan of a book cover, a recording of a performance, the text of a journal article, chapter or paper given at a conference, installation shots of an exhibition, photos of the artworks, and any born-digital research).  UALRO staff will edit it and contact staff if they have any queries or advice, and then they will add it to the online collection. UALRO will help make sure staff don’t breach anyone’s copyright, and they will protect the work against anyone doing the same to staff’s own copyright in the work.

For more information about UALRO contact Stephanie Meece and Alex Kohn, Scholarly Communications Office, Library Services.

Image: Eileen Hogan, Vacant Possession, New Art Centre Roche Court February 2013 cc by nc nd

Art and Archives Roundtable

Ligatus Research Center will host the Art and Archives Roundtable on 18 July 2014, with the Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS) exchange programme ‘PROJECT ViA’ and the UK and Ireland Art Library Society (ARLIS). The afternoon will include presentations by Judy Vaknin, Victoria Lane, Wendy Russell, Gavin Clarke, Ruth Maclennan and Alan Crookham, as well as by the PROJECT ViA participants Sang-ae Park, Ji-eun Lee, Hae-Ju Kim, Hyun jung Woo, Ho-Kyung Chung and Jay Jungin Hwang.

Ligatus is linked to ARLIS through a common interest in artists’ archives. The relationship developed after work that Ligatus did on the John Latham Archive. Since then, Ligatus has presented that work on several occasions to the ARLIS group and welcomed ARLIS members to Flat Time House where the John Latham archive is kept.

Ligatus and ARLIS have also worked together in the development of new research proposals. Archivists try to be objective when undertaking archiving work, however, it is inevitable that their subjective opinions and views appear in archival descriptions. Although subjectivity should normally be avoided in archiving, Ligatus proposes to make it the main focus of the archiving process for artists’ archives. Creative Archiving has formalised this proposal, taking subjectivity to the extreme and treating the archivist as a domain expert.  With Creative Archiving, in addition to standard ‘objective’ descriptions, subjective interpretations become an extra layer in the implementation of the online archive.  With modern software tools, building this extra interpretation layer is feasible and relatively simple. Athanasios Velios, Deputy Director of Ligatus Research Centre, has explored Creative Archiving in his article, Creative Archiving: a case study from the John Latham Archive.

Presentations on the day will look at archiving art, performing archives, the artist and the archive and curating the archive.

KAMS and ARLIS are visiting the Flat Time House to discuss the John Latham Archive prior to the event.

Welcome Cape Farewell

CCW Graduate School welcomes Cape Farewell, an international not-for-profit programme dedicated to developing cultural responses to climate change. They have now begun a residency with us in the Graduate School, planned to last for three years. During this time there will be opportunities for CCW staff to collaborate with Cape Farewell on projects that offer cultural and creative responses to climate change.  The Cape Farewell team are:

  • David Buckland, (Director UK & US/Canada)
  • Yasmine Ostendorf (Programme Director)
  • Marente van der Valk (Project Manager)
  • Susie Stevens (Finance)
  • Ruth Little (Associate Director)

Cape Farewell has been collaborating with the world’s leading climate scientists and its most influential artists to instigate a cultural response to climate change since 2001. The Cape Farewell team believe that climate change is a cultural, social and economic challenge, and they are inspired to move beyond the scientific and rational debate to address it. By bringing together artists, scientists, communicators and cultural opinion formers, they endeavour to develop creative works that act as a catalyst for change. By using creativity to innovate, they engage artists, writers, poets, musicians and film-makers for their ability to evolve and amplify a creative language, communicating – on an emotional level and on a human scale – the urgency of the global climate challenge.

One of their creative outputs is to employ the notion of ‘expeditions’ – Arctic, island, urban and conceptual – to interrogate the scientific, social and economic realities that have led to climate disruption. Cape Farewell has so far made eight voyages into the high Arctic, ones to the Andes/Amazon, and more recently to the western islands of Scotland. This experience has prompted them to change from bearing witness to climate change to working pro-actively and in collaboration with island societies already de-carbonising their lives. Some of their work has been chronicled in the Graduate School’s publication Bright 9: Expedition.

In parallel to their expeditions they organize a wide range of activities, from exhibitions, to poetry slams, festivals, concerts, and much more.

Cape Farewell invites you to engage with them; take part in their competitions, follow them on Facebook, and attend their events. Stay informed at: www.capefarewell.com FB:  /capefarewell

Convulsions in the Field of Vision: An exhibition of recent work by Elizabeth Manchester

Once upon a time … once … and once again.

Beauties slept in their woods, waiting for princes to come and wake them up. In their beds, in their glass coffins, in their childhood forests like dead women. Beautiful, but passive; hence desirable: all mystery emanates from them …

She sleeps, she is intact, eternal, absolutely powerless. He has no doubt that she has been waiting for him forever.

The secret of her beauty, kept for him: she has the perfection of something finished. Or not begun. However, she is breathing. Just enough life – and not too much …

She wanders, but lying down. In dream. Ruminates. Talks to herself. Woman’s voyage: as a body.’[1]

But what happens when she wakes up? Who is she then, when she has awakened to be a body with a mind? Eyes that see, lips that speak – two pairs of lips both above and below that tell an experience of life, a sense of self, that is not limited to any single mode of being but that moves from one state to another, in motion between, cohabiting even the dialectical conditions of being a an object and being a subject.

She is on the line – the finest of lines that we all inhabit, the one we cross every time we look in a mirror. And let’s face it – how many of us have the luxury of perceiving ourselves full-length, whole, of encountering ourselves as a singular other? Fractured, fragmented, out of focus: faces, hands, feet, limbs, organs – it’s almost impossible to see them all at once, impossible that is if you look with eyes alone.

Only by touching will you know the object that you hold between your hands.

Listen to your heart beat. Hear your breath moving in and out. How many other signals of muscular motion can you tune into in your body-house? Convulsions are the sign of life. The convolutions of the vine are no less procreative than the vulvular contractions that produce release, dispersion, connection, multiplication, thought, invention, poetry, science and … art.

Elizabeth Manchester is in the fourth year of her practice-led PhD at CCW. The works she presents in the four rooms of the Cookhouse examine themes latent in Marcel Duchamp’s last great work, Étant donnés, and its related erotic objects, using photographs, performance, sculpture and drawing.

[1] Hélène Cixous in Cixous and Catherine Clément, The Newly Born Woman, Paris 1975, translated from the French by Betsy Wing, I.B. Tauris, London 1996, p.66.

Site-specific Intervention within Art Education Institutions

Joshua Y’Barbo, CCW PhD student operating the Chelsea Salon Series with Laura Carew, asks, what insights might pedagogical art practices generate through site-specific intervention within art education institutions?

‘My practice-led research intersects socially engaged art practices, critical pedagogy and institutional critique through the exploration of site-specific interventions into art’s educational institutions. The interventions are  informed by site-specificity in institutional critique and explore Pablo Helguera’s concepts of transpedagogy, which refers to “projects by artists and collectives where pedagogical process is the core of the artwork” (Helguera, 2011, p.77).

‘My critique is of art education institutions as a site where revisions in the production and display of art are made. According to Andrea Fraser, institutional critique evaluates these sites through critically reflexive site-specificity. Site-specificity does not refer only to physical spaces, but also to space for relationships, processes, rituals and discourses in which structures of power are performed and reproduced (Rottmann, 2008).

‘My research is informed by critical and feminist pedagogy in an attempt to question hierarchies and structures of power within education. Site-specific intervention in my research challenges the framework of art education institutions through methods developed within institutional critique. According to Fraser (2005), the site of intervention within the institution includes ‘our relations to that site and the social conditions of those relations’.

‘My practice and research interests developed alongside and through the Chelsea Salon series. The Chelsea Salon series is an ongoing project that combines Grzegorz Kowalski’s use of the architectural theory of open form as a teaching method with Helguera’s ideas of para-institutions. Claire Bishop (2012) explains open form as students engaged in “open-ended tasks that function as a form of collective analysis” (Bishop, 2012, p.257). According to Helguera (2009), para-institutions refer to “the idea that one could build up parallel institutions, working institutions, that do propose and show in its operation other working systems, being a temporary frame of action where art enters as the self-reflective, self-critical, tool while it is simultaneously being conceived and happening, a para-institution that sees itself from the outside, from the spectator’s point of view” (Helguera, 2009). The Chelsea Salon series and my research combine these concepts in an attempt to refine understanding of the changes produced by, and happening in, higher education in art and design. These are the aims taken from the brief for the project Not Knowing: CCW / APG / Chelsea Salon. The project was developed by David Cross and myself with Barbara Steveni and the 2013-2014 MA Fine Art students at Chelsea College of Arts, London, UK.’

Visit Chelsea Salon series for more information about past, present and future salons, talks, screenings and tours.