In Memory of Susan Hiller
7 March 1940 – 28 January 2019
“In all my work I was attempting to erase the supposed boundary between dream life and waking life. Because what I do… is to pull out for scrutiny those images or ideas which are visual, visible, but are rendered invisible and therefore marginalized.”
Susan Hiller, interview with Sandy Nairne for State of the Art, Channel 4, 1987
It is with great sadness that we report that Susan Hiller passed away on 28 January 2019.
Susan was a long-standing collaborator of Matt’s Gallery, and a close personal friend of Director Robin Klassnik. She will be remembered as an artist, a writer, a teacher and an explorer in the truest sense of the word.
Born 7 March 1940 in Tallahassee, Florida, Susan grew up in and around Cleveland, Ohio until 1952 when her family moved to South Florida. She went on to study Anthropology but found the freedom of expression she craved through working as an artist. After travelling the world widely throughout the 1960s with her husband, David, she settled in London in the early 1970s and later they had a son, Gabriel.
It was through their involvement in the London art-scene of the 1970s that Robin and Susan met. In 1980 Susan became one of the first artists to show at Matt’s Gallery, which Robin founded in his Space Studio at Martello Street in 1979. Work In Progress ran from 21 April to 4 May 1980. A week-long performance, Work In Progress involved unravelling a painting into its component threads; each day the resulting threads were re-configured as a ‘doodle’ or thread drawing.
This was to become the first of four exhibitions that Susan presented at Matt’s Gallery. It was followed by An Entertainment, exhibited 19-31 January 1991 and acquired by the Tate in 1995, The Last Silent Movie which was shown over six days in July 2008, and in 2013, Channels. We were planning to make our fifth show with Susan in March this year.
As Susan gained international recognition she continued to work with small, independent spaces as well as big institutions and museums throughout the world. The relationship that Matt’s Gallery built with Susan over these various projects and through the many conversations we had around them was very special. Over the years she built relationships with many of the artists the gallery has worked with, acting as a mentor and becoming a friend.
“Susan was a conceptual magician and a great collector and hoarder of curios. She was generous and articulate. She could also anger people, but more often than not, rightly so. We knew when to give each other space; we made only four shows over forty years, but each one was shit hot.”
Robin Klassnik, Director, Matt’s Gallery.
The Urban Dictionary defines ‘shit hot’ as: “Excellent, fantastic, marvellous, quite superb. In other words another word for something good.”
Nathaniel Mellors & Erkka Nissinen, Bad Mantra, Matt’s Gallery, 92 Webster Road, London, until 24 February, Wed-Sun 12-6pm
Following on from their presentation at the 2017 Venice Biennale, Bad Mantra draws its title from an episode in The Aalto Natives, a darkly humorous take on Finnish identity, creation myths and nationalism. At the centre of the installation is a one-puppet band, jamming a programmed improvisation created by the artists for the space.
The work, shown at Kiasma as part of the pair’s exhibition The Aalto Natives in 2018, has been reconfigured in response to Matt’s Gallery’s 3x3x3 metre cubic space.
In March, Matt’s Gallery looks forward to Matthew Krishanu, House of Crows at Webster Road. The exhibition will open on the 29 March 2019, 6-9pm and run from 30 March – 7 April, daily 12-6pm.
Matt’s Gallery thanks Ron Henocq Fine Art for their generous support.
Beth Collar, Daddy Issues, CGP London Dilston Grove, 17 March – 28 April 2019
Matt’s Gallery and CGP London are pleased to announce a collaborative commission for Dilston Grove. Beth Collar’s Daddy Issues will occupy the modernist former church in Southwark Park from 17 March – 28 April 2019. The commission builds an ongoing relationship that in previous years has presented works by Graham Fagan, Matt Stokes and Richard Grayson. Collar, whose exhibition Thinking Here Of How The Words Formulate Inside My Head As I Am Just Thinking took place at Webster Road in May 2018, will produce a new body of work for the space.
The exhibition is supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.
Mike Nelson has been invited to create the 2019 Tate Britain Commission, making work in response to the unique architecture and history of their Duveen Galleries.
Nelson constructs large-scale, site-specific sculptural environments that often arise from a period of living and working in a particular location. His works fuse literary, filmic, sociopolitical and cultural references to create carefully orchestrated tableaux. In 1999 Nelson and a small team of assistants installed The Coral Reef (pictured) at Matt’s Gallery, Copperfield Road, opening to the public in January 2000. This work was later acquired by the Tate Collection, and exhibited in 2010-11 at Tate Britain where it was seen by thousands of visitors.
Daniel Sturgis in conversation with Robin Klassnik, Camberwell College of Arts, 7 February 2019, 6.30-8pm
“For me, the act of painting was never considered, never possible unless only painting could provide the means of sustaining legitimate calls of the mind.”
– David Troostwyk
An exhibition of paintings and other works by David Troostwyk has been selected by British painter and Camberwell College of Arts Fine Art Programme Director Daniel Sturgis. Daniel Sturgis will be in conversation with Matt’s Gallery Director Robin Klassnik (who first showed Troostwyk’s work in 1979) at a public event at Camberwell College of Arts on 7 February 2019, 6.30-8pm.
This exhibition introduces the work of David Troostwyk (1926-2009) to a new audience, underlining its originality and vitality. David Troostwyk’s work with text, objects and painting displays a reduced elegance and focus on the way art can communicate ideas. Although pared-back, his work was moral. His succinct pictorial and linguistic vocabulary was in part indebted to his youthful employment in advertising for the London Display Company, and as a coach-painter. As a childhood evacuee from war-torn Europe, his work drew on the deep, and sometimes troubling, responses he had to 20th Century history and his inner emotional life.
A leading British conceptual artist who worked with painting and text, his work is held in the Tate Gallery Collection, Arts Council Collection, Southampton City Art Gallery as well as private collections. Troostwyk studied at St Albans Art School (1950-53) and the Royal College of Art (1953-56). He became Head of Painting at Winchester Art School (1964-67) and later taught at various London art schools, most notably at Camberwell College of Art (1965-89).
David Troostwyk is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London. The works in the exhibition are shown courtesy of the Trustees of the estate of David Troostwyk.
Willie Doherty is featured in the group show Opened Ground, curated by Mary Cremin, alongside artists Aslan Gaisumov and Amar Kanwar.
Willie Doherty’s early photographic work from the 80’s and 90’s is a powerful reminder of how borders, primarily a political agenda, dislocates culture and the shape of people’s identities and histories. The photographs document how history can mark a terrain and how memory is marked in the landscape. The series of photographs of the border document empty roads reaching into the landscapes laden with overtones of what came before. The poignant photograph The Road Ahead (1997) carries new meaning with the uncertainty of what is to come.
Throughout her career, Lindsay Seers has expressed a problematic relationship with photography in terms of what it does through its imperial gaze onto the body of the other, particularly towards women. This prompted her to rethink the relationship between the subject and the object in photography; a process she developed by, for instance, turning herself into a camera, by pursuing a more performative approach to the event of picture-taking, as well as by addressing how colonisation of peoples’ minds happens by means of scientific and technological exploitation.
For Fotogalleriet’s exhibition, Seers centres on a randomly appearing trait, the medical condition “heterochromia iridum” (a difference in eye colouration). She brings together a range of people from diverse backgrounds around the world, to ask what would a better understanding of these histories mean for the ways in which we define ourselves and how we would relate to each other if we were looking beyond scientific tropes? How does individual experience relate to that of the many? And who decides which voice is loudest and what we should hear?
People with two differently coloured eyes have been drawn together by modern science to create categories no different from those applied through race, gender and sexuality. Meeting individuals from around the world, Seers creates a counter-community whose narration demounts dominant and hegemonic tropes in an emancipatory act to rebalance power relations otherwise negated.
Anne Bean, Unlimited Action: The Kipper Kids, talk and book launch, Tate Britain, London, 7 February 2019, 6.30-8pm
From the 1970s, the Kipper Kids (Harry Kipper and Harry Kipper, aka Martin Von Haselberg and the late Brian Routh) became legendary. Their dangerous, excessive and funny performance art actions were prolific in the 1970’s in the UK, Europe and LA. They performed sporadically from the mid 1980’s and their last public performance was in 2003. Their transgressive aesthetic influenced peers such as Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley. Routh died in August 2018.
Dominic Johnson joins Martin Von Haselberg and frequent Kipper collaborator Anne Bean to celebrate the The Kipper Kids. The event will include rare screenings, including Up Yer Bum With a Bengal Lancer (1976), and a recording of The Kipper Kids’ final performance at the National Review of Live Art, Glasgow in 2003. The event will include conversation and action.
This event will launch Johnson’s new book, Unlimited Action: The Performance of Extremity in the 1970s. The book explores the limits imposed upon art and life, and the means by which artists have exposed or refused this by way of performance. It examines the ‘performance of extremity’ as practices at the limits of the histories of performance and art, in its most prescient decade, the 1970s. Dominic Johnson recounts and analyses game-changing performance events by six artists: Kerry Trengove, Ulay, Genesis P-Orridge and COUM Transmissions, Anne Bean, the Kipper Kids and Stephen Cripps.
Melanie Jackson’s work is included in an exhibition at IMT Gallery, alongside Diann Bauer, Amanda Beech, Pil & Galia Kollectiv, Claire Potter, Tai Shani, Linda Stupart, Ayesha Tan Jones, Lynton Talbot. Snow Crash produces a project that thinks of itself as a scaffold, as opposed to a container, and as a result has the propensity to suggest alternative and expansive forms of viewing art.
Jordan Baseman’s ambitious digital commission continues, marking the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic known as ‘Spanish Flu’. Radio Influenza is delivered daily as an audio soundtrack over the full course of a year – you can access these via the website, podcast apps, or follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The Wellcome commission, which started on 1 November 2018, captures the everyday experience of how news, rumour and health information and dis-information was shared and experienced through newspaper accounts at the time.
The 1918 influenza pandemic was one of the most significant and wide-reaching international health crises of the twentieth century, which killed at least 50 million people worldwide. Wellcome is marking the centenary by funding a wealth of projects exploring local, national and international responses to the reality and devastation of the Spanish Flu. Baseman’s work draws on original source materials from 1918-19 and follow the patterns and rhythms of everyday life over the course of a year. From individual, local stories to national and international responses, the project will represent the devastation of the epidemic through the everyday, exploring how information about it filtered into every aspect of life. Using contemporary reporting from the British Newspaper Archive held by the British Library, it will track scientific developments and failures, the public’s hopes and fears, and governments’ action and inaction.
On February 15th, gendersick will be shown at Danielle Arnaud, London, as part of Unknown, a screening event curated by A—Z (Anne Duffau).
Unknown is part of A—Z’s research through the screening of works that explore & defy preconceived/imperialist hi.Stories of identities & bodies. Through the scope of narratives & distinctive genres ranging from art, youtube mash-up to music videos, the aim of this screening is to break boundaries & raise interest in terms of displacement, otherness & post gender. Extending our ongoing research into the notions of amorphous body through technology and inner space, one important point is to embrace the Uses of the Erotic referred to in Audre Lorde to make the personal Political and the bodily a weapon.
gendersick asks questions about our understanding of gender today: What does it mean to identify as an agender, asexual person? How does the construct of gender impact on expressions of identity for the individual? How is gender represented and perceived and understood within our culture? How are non-binary individuals represented? gendersick was commissioned by Fort Worth Contemporary Arts and the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at Texas Christian University. gendersick is made using in-camera, stop frame animation techniques. Recorded over a week, one second long, double-exposure shots taken on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth Texas make up the foundations for the visual material. The narrator’s staccato speech patterns and their underlying burning anger are expressed eloquently and with insightful humour.
Alison Turnbull, In the Labyrinth, Large Glass, London, 8 February – 5 April 2019, Private View 7 February 6-9pm
The inspiration for the show comes from Charlotte Higgins’ book ‘Red Thread: On Mazes and Labyrinths’.
Artists have been invited to make an original drawing by Drawing Room directors Mary Doyle, Kate Macfarlane and Katharine Stout, with additional nominations by leading international artists, museum directors, curators and collectors.
Drawing Biennial 2019 signals the diversity of artists’ imagination, demonstrating the vitality and importance of drawing today.
Hail the new Etruscan #1, Oona Grimes’ fourth solo exhibition at Danielle Arnaud, presents two new series of drawings developed during her recent residency at the British School in Rome, where she was the Bridget Riley Fellow 2018. They are influenced by Grimes’ long held fascination with post-war Italian cinema and the films designated as Neorealist. This canon of films ranges from Visconti’s Ossessione (1943) and Rossellini’s Roma Città Aperta (1945) to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), Pasolini’s Accattone(1961) and beyond.
The first series of drawings, le comparse (2018), are, in the words of writer and director Tony Grisoni, ‘spare, crayon drawings on white [paper] of brutalised faces running with snot and blotched with cold’. The faces belong to extras from Italian films— ‘unknown players,’ according to Grisoni, who ‘without credit or lines of dialogue…inhabit the background action of Rossellini’s Roma Città Aperta, (1945) or Fellini’s La Strada, (1954).’
These are complemented by a series of larger stencil drawings on black paper entitled ragazze e ragazzi romani (2018). Here, Grimes layers images, patterns and colours in a fluid and hyper-associative way, combining, for example, ‘fragments of Etruscan porn dancing with pixelated vespas and the maid from [Pasolini’s 1968 film] Teorema.’ They are dotted periodically with repair patches, mirroring the restored frescos and stone work that Grimes encountered in Rome.
On the final day of the exhibition, Saturday 9 February, join Oona Grimes in conversation with Danielle Arnaud, at 4pm. Admission free, booking not required.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries (selected by Benedict Drew, Katy Moran and Keith Piper), South London Gallery, London, until 24 February 2019
The South London Gallery opens its doors to Bloomberg New Contemporaries for the first time in a decade. BNC 2018 guest selectors Benedict Drew, Katy Moran and Keith Piper have chosen 57 artists for the annual open submission exhibition, which showcases some of the most dynamic work being made today. BNC 2018 will be presented across both SLG sites.
Low Form. Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence at MAXXI, Rome continues, featuring a version of Mellors’ and Nissinen’s The Aalto Natives. An exploration of the technological and surreal imaginary of the artists of today, from computer-generated dreams to creative algorithms and avatars that question the meaning of existence. More than just an exhibition, but a workshop for study and debate on themes and issues associated with our relationship with technology and the incredible scenarios opened by its evolution: Low Form. Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence is an immersive, multimedia and multisensory display.
In an era in which technologies evolve increasingly rapidly and we are questioning how far the relationship between man and machine can go, the exhibition presents the visions of 16 international artists showing a present and a future, the representation of which is the offspring of technological unconsciousness and a dilated imaginary, in which traditional analogical references and the contemporary hyperconnected digital consciousness are combined.
Artists: Zach Blas & Jemima Wyman, Carola Bonfili, Ian Cheng, Cécile B. Evans, Pakui Hardware, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Nathaniel Mellors & Erkka Nissinen, Trevor Paglen, Agnieszka Polska, Jon Rafman, Lorenzo Senni, Avery K Singer, Cheyney Thompson, Luca Trevisani, Anna Uddenberg, Emilio Vavarella
Graham Fagen, Next Top Model, Govan Project Space, Glasgow, 16-24 February 2019, Private View 15 February 6-9pm
The concept began as an idea for a 3D group show, perhaps a salon hang of sculptures. The plinth top dimensions become a unifying device, the rest has been left up to the artists proclivity for making objects. It could be seen as a brief survey of a few practicing contemporary artists with a connection to Glasgow or greater Scotland. A common thread running between them being that they are people whom we have met along the way so far. People who have encouraged us, supported us, shown up from time to time or simply shown a similar mindset in their own approach to making things.
Next Top Model presents a chance to test something new, or dust off a favoured relic for re-examination and we hope in turn this will provide a forum for discussion and dissection, peer to peer and public to artist.
Artists: Roddy Buchanan, Rabiya Choudhry, Jacqueline Donachie, Cornelius Dupre, Louise Gibson, Kenny Hunter, Eva Isleifs, Jonny Lyons, Jordan Munro, Alys Owen, Kate V Robertson, Beth Shapeero, Ross Sinclair, Simon Buckley, Neil Clements, Gwen Dupre, Graham Fagen, Kevin Harman, Virginia Hutchison, Tessa Lynch, Andrew Miller, Pat O’Connor, Beagles and Ramsay, Toby Paterson, Becky Sik
Open Saturday/Sunday 16/17 & 23/24 February 12-4pm, and by appointment 18-22 February
Two photographic works by Graham Fagen can be seen in Another Country, an exhibition that examines contemporary immigration to Scotland, exploring themes of integration, nationality and identity. It brings together eleven leading artists from distinct ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds, all born or currently living in Scotland. All sides of the debate are being considered but central to the exhibition are New Scots themselves. The exhibition does not aim to instruct the visitor but rather to encourage discussion, and throughout its duration it offers the opportunity to create sustainable dialogue with audiences that will increase understanding and lead to new insights into community building.
Artists: Graham Fagen, Owen Logan, Andrew Gilbert, Toby Paterson, Julie Roberts.
Dozens of Matthew Krishanu’s painted crows are displayed throughout Ikon’s neo-gothic premises. Always painted singly and never in flight they appear almost anthropomorphic on their twin legs, whether looking directly at the viewer or stepping away.
Mischievous, malevolent and sometimes comical, Krishanu’s birds are partly inspired by crows in art and literature; for example, Crow by Ted Hughes, Edgar Allan Poe’s raven, or the mythical crows of trickster tales. Inspired by bird watching in England, they are also signifiers of Krishanu’s childhood in Bangladesh where crows were always close by, cawing in trees or pecking at rubbish dumps.
Matthew Krishanu’s British father and Indian mother completed theological training in Birmingham, then relocated their family to Dhaka in the early 1980s, working for the Church of Bangladesh. His work explores his eleven years living in Bangladesh, while capturing his distinctive bond with his brother. His paintings explore the childhood gaze of the boys, depicting experiences of an atmospheric yet complex world of expatriates, missionaries and expansive landscapes.
Matthew Krishanu says:
“I want the viewer to sense the complications: that the scenes depicted are not always ones of innocence, that there are historical and cultural currents at play, and that the childhood world is easily punctured by adult constructions and beliefs.”
SEIZURE is the first solo exhibition in Scandinavia by Marianna Simnett. In her mesmerising installation Faint with Light and video parable The Needle and the Larynx, normative bodies and genders undergo radical transformations. The artist’s own body, mutated and remodeled, becomes the site in which her hypnotic fantasies are played out.
The exhibition presents two of Simnett’s most arresting works, in which the body either metamorphoses or momentarily vanishes. A seizure, according to the writer and mythographer Marina Warner, describes the effect of the passions on the body. Inner forces such as madness and folly, personified in tragedies of the Greek poet Homer as feminine, snatch and grab the interior of the human creature and take possession. Together, Simnett’s works function as a portrait of an untamed body.