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Arts Council Collection New Acquisitions 2004—05

Arts Council Collection New Acquisitions 2004—05

Chair of the Acquisitions Committee Isobel Johnstone / Susan May The external members of the Acquisitions Committee for 2002–05: Michael Archer Susan Collins Keith Hartley

Anna Barriball Window is part of a series of drawings pro­duced by making graphite rubbings from domestic features such as windows and fireplaces. Exploring this technique, the artist captures the surfaces and textures of the domestic environment, changing their nature and turning opaque windows into undulating, metallic sheets. Recognisable as window panes, they are made alien by being removed from their usual context. By using the technique of intense graphite rubbing, Barriball’s drawings become low-relief sculpture through their retention of every surface detail. Through this process Barriball is moving the traditionally two-dimen­sion­al medium of drawing into the threedimen­sional practice of sculpture.

Breda Beban

Exiled in stages from her homeland, Breda Beban’s personal history is deeply interwoven within her work. With the collapse of the former Yugoslavia she and her partner and collaborator, Hrvoje Horvatic, travelled across Europe as re­­fugees before eventually settling in London. Despite these experiences, Beban’s work evokes the tenderness at

Window, 2002 pencil on paper, 55.5 × 51 cm

the edge of things that binds past and present, history and reality, loss and memory, in a transforming, visually poetic form. Physically present in Walk of Three Chairs, Beban floats down the Danube on a barge accompanied by a gypsy folk band. Positioned at a point in the river that is traditionally thought to be the edge of Europe and the start of the Balkans, we see holiday dachas nestled between green trees on the left bank and the contrastingly industrial landscape of Belgrade on the right.

Walk of Three Chairs, 2003 super 16 mm transferred to DVD, projection, 9 minutes 53 seconds. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in association with John Hansard Gallery, Southampton and supported by Arts Council England

Simon Faithfull

30 Km, 2003 video transferred to DVD, 32 minutes Commissioned by the Film and Video Umbrella in collaboration with Now Festival. Supported by Arts Council England.

30 Km is a record of the journey of a small weather balloon as it ascends to the margins of space. The work oscillates between a spirit of empirical field-test enquiry and moments of lyrical, ethereal poetry. As seen from a camera attached to the balloon, the ground beneath us falls abruptly away; the figure of the artist, carefully cradling the apparatus as he prepares it for take-off, reduced, within seconds, to a tiny, unrecognisable dot. Rising ever upward, in almost-total silence, broken only by the plaintive bleep of the onboard transmitter straining to locate its earthbound receiver, the balloon’s camera-eye takes in a gradually widening panorama, in which the landmark features of the south coast of England stand out, in sharp relief, against the dream-like blue-green blur. Film and Video Umbrella

Eric Fong My practice is concept-based, and in­volves video, sculpture and photography to explore biomedical issues. Recently, my work has become more socially en­gaged, and has involved collaborations with people in local communities to explore issues surrounding medical conditions such as dementia and respiratory disorders. Between September 2002 and March 2003, I worked as an artist-in-residence at Age Concern Kensington & Chelsea, and engaged older people with de­mentia in creative activities to produce collabo­ rative artworks that would en­hance public understanding of their perceptual difficulties. The video, Harry, was one of the works produced during this

residency in collaboration with Harry, a feisty 81-year-old former boxer, jazz drummer and ballroom dancer who now has dementia. It focused on his undimin­ ished flair for performance and his joy of living. Eric Fong

Harry, 2003 DVD, 3 minutes 8 seconds

Anya Gallaccio

To make this work, Anya Gallaccio in­serted sixty Gerbera flowers behind the windowpanes of a pair of old mahogany doors. The flowers decompose over time, hastened by enclosure behind glass – a procedure usually equated with the preservation of works of art. The process of decomposition results in a pool of dark liquid on the floor. New flowers are used for each installation. Well known for working with transient materials, Anya Gallaccio has included fruit, flowers, choc­o­late, candle wax, ice and sugar in her sculptures. She has commented: “I see my work as being a performance and a collaboration ... there is unpredictability in the materials and collaboration I get involved in”.

can love remember the question and the answer, 2003 mahogany, glass and flowers, 275 × 143 cm

Ryan Gander Ryan Gander’s work is characterised by visual simplicity and conceptual rigour. Many of his works are conceived for and realised within the public realm, and deal with the analysis of urban and social structures. This work, a gift to the Arts Council Collection arising from Arts Council England’s International Fellow­ships programme, is a screenprint that looks at the interrelationship be­tween a series of fictional characters conceived by the artist.

Character Associations, 2003 screenprint, 116 × 84 cm Gift of the artist, the International Artists Fellowships, Arts Council England and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Camilla Løw The edges of the thin sheets of Perspex in 7 are all painted in different colours, and skewered on an eight-foot-long metal rod which leans precariously against a wall. Poised in space, this work seems to teeter between solidity and collapse. The sharp forms of Løw’s works punctuate the space they inhabit, maintaining a subtle balancing act. With references to Scandi­na­vian design and Russian Con­struc­tiv­ism, the apparently sophisticated design and craftsmanship belie their low-tech, hand-made origins.

7, 2004 perspex, enamel and metal, 260 × 40 × 50 cm Lectro, 2004 wood and paint, 32 × 42 × 5 cm

Brighid Lowe Brighid Lowe was commissioned by e-2, a London-based digital production group, to make a digital animation. Lowe was one of four artists, who do not normally work in digital media, chosen to produce a piece to be viewed online. As described by e-2, Lowe’s work “focuses upon the disembodied nature of words in the limbo of hyperspace. Paradoxically, a skeptical and yet eloquent critique of the often empty and frustrating nature of ‘surfing’.”

Now Here / Nowhere, 1998 digital animation Commisioned by e-2

Daria Martin

Soft Materials, 2004 16mm film, 10 minutes 30 seconds Commissioned by The Showroom, London with additional funding from the Wellcome Trust, The Moose Foundation for the Arts and The Elephant Trust

Soft Materials was filmed in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zu­rich, where scientific research ‘embodied artificial intelligence’, producing robots which learn to function through the expe­rience of their bodies rather than from being programmed by a computer brain. In Martin’s film, the robot is introduced to two performers, trained in body aware­ness, who dance with the robots. They create a scenario which is both tender and amus­ing, referring back to modernist ‘man and machine’ works, as well as the perfor­mance art of the 1960s, which explored the relationship between the body and physical objects.

Paul McDevitt Paul McDevitt seems to suggest a lost or undiscovered world in his intricate pencil drawings. Much of his imagery derives from 1950s cultural magazines as well as his own photographs. He is fasci­nated by disposable visual culture, nota­bly the anonymous graphic design found in old magazines as well as street graffiti. He fuses these graphic images with ele­ments of architecture and de­serted landscapes. Cosmic scenes are also part of his vision, bringing to mind both 1960s psychedelic culture and 1990s rave music.

Bathetic Gesture, 2003 colour pencil on paper, 47 × 63.5 cm Sculpture in a Landscape, 2003 colour pencil on paper, 57.5 × 49cm

Hayley Newman Building on the rich heritage of perfor­mance art since the 1960s, Hayley Newman’s work explores the relationship between a performance and its documen­tation. She uses video, photography and text to document a range of performances that may or may not have taken place. Although quirky and often humorous, these works raise serious questions as to the very nature of performance art and its presentation. I Spy Surveillance Fly, 1998; Human Re­sources, 1998; Stealth, 1998; You Blew My Mind, 1998 and Lockjaw Lecture Series, 1998 are part of Newman’s Con­notations Performance Images series, and were commissioned by Hull Time Based Arts as part of the Year of Photography 1998.

I Spy Surveillance Fly, 1998 colour r-type photograph mounted on aluminium, 30.2 × 30.2 cm Human Resources, 1998 colour r-type photograph mounted on aluminium, 105.5 × 104.5 cm → Stealth, 1998 black and white photograph, 106 × 55 cm → → You Blew My Mind, 1998 black and white photograph mounted on aluminium 92.5 × 91 cm Daisy Chain, 2002 c-type photographic print, 22 × 30cm How to Catch a Cold, 2002 c-type colour photograph, 50.5 × 71.5 cm Lockjaw Lecture Series, 1998 colour c-type photograph mounted on aluminium, 17 × 25.5 cm Choco Gothic, 2002 PAL digi-beta, colour with sound, 31 minutes

Toby Paterson

Rotterdam Relief, 2005 acrylic paint and perspex, 100 × 100 cm

Acknowledging influences as diverse as the work of British modernist artists Ben Nichol­son and Victor Pasmore, as well as his own skateboarding experie­nces, Toby Patterson’s work explores the urban envi­ronment. In his large-scale wall paintings, sculptural assemblages and small paint­ings on Perspex, he reinter­prets the lines and forms of modernist architecture. As he says, he is interested in “what cultural, practical and econom­ical situation has made that place exist”. Rotterdam Relief like his other work of the time, emerged from his research into the redevelopment of cities which suf­ fered extreme damage during the Second World War.

Eva Rothschild Heavy Cloud comprises three inter­lock­ing triangular wooden forms, suspended from the ceil­ing. Resin casts of hands, lit­erally holding the triangles in place, give this otherwise geometric form a human pres­ence. Heavy Cloud reveals Eva Roth­schild’s interest in open sculptural forms and in the use of sculpture to activate the whole gallery space not just the floor. She cites minimalism, the permissiveness of the psychedelic era and new age spir­it­uality among her influences. As she says, her interest is in “how things are invested with a power above and beyond their ma­te­ri­ality, the transference of spirituality onto objects”.

Heavy Cloud, 2003 wood, plastic and paint, 200 × 190 × 175 cm Your Weakness, 2004 ebony, oak and paint, 61 × 118 × 63 cm

Bag is dealing with a functional space, to do with a sense of holding together and containing. The piece is made from fabrics such as felt, wool, nylon and acrylics. Various straps, handles, loops and sys­tems of interlocking are combined and multiplied as ways of holding together in different states of entanglement. Similar to the Scarves series, contrasting ways of making and joining materials are layered over one another. Various stages and modes of making are com­bined, from roughly stitched elements to elaborate details. Bag is closley related to physical action, i.e. how things are moved, carried, held, holding together. Karin Ruggaber

Karin Ruggaber

Bag, 2004 felt, tweed, wool and cotton, 50 × 30 × 10 cm Slabs, 2004 concrete, plaster, wood, bark, 156 × 87 × 4 cm Scarves, 2004 silk, cotton, tweed, acrylic and nylon, 140 × 80 cm Cooking Series 1-4, 2004 inkjet prints on paper, 27.5 × 40.8 cm

Tony Swain

In Baltimore you think of Hats and Shoes, 2004 gouache and collage on newsprint, 33.9 × 53.7 cm Intents Previous to Discovery, 2004 gouache on newspaper, 28.9 × 11.3 cm

Tony Swain makes collages that combine drawing, gouache and cuttings from newspapers and magazines. The Source material, with vestiges of information and allusions to events, are merged with abstract forms to render new depictions of the world. A paper which is usually looked at and disregarded is used by Swain in order to preserve its use. As he states “The focus of a newspaper is the ‘now’, but it is a medium that is in­tend­­ed for little more than a cursory glance. I try to unearth aspects of it that might be of more permanent interest and refocus attention on to them”. Swain gives his works bizarre titles to suggest alternative means of interpreting and making sense of life.

Aaron Williamson and Philip Ryder

In Acute a normal film convention is reversed as a deaf performer – Aaron Williamson – acts as a hearing character. Reminiscent of the ‘fugitive’ or ‘touristin-distress’ film genre, he hides out in a labyrinthine and derelict Italian castle. The centrepiece of the film is one un­edit­ed six-minute take in which Williamson is locked in a tortuous pact with Philip Ryder’s chasing camera. Ryder has lim­ited use of his hands and is evolving a ‘hands-free cinema’. Here he hugs the camera to his chest throughout the chase. As in a child’s game, Williamson must choose either a noisy run from the camera/threat or hold his breath to be silent and hidden. His imagined sense of hearing is the motor of action.

Acute, 2003 DVD, 8 minutes

Aaron Williamson

Translation / Translatio, 2002-2003 DVD, 2 minutes 4 seconds Lives of the Saints, 2002 DVD, 11 minutes Lives of the Saints, 2002 digital prints, 19 × 23.8 cm

Aaron Williamson and Philip Ryder

Images Š the artist except Eric Fong image Š Eric Fong. All rights reserved, DACS 2011.

Cover: Tony Swain, In Baltimore you think of Hats and Shoes, 2004 (detail)

Design: Catherine Nippe,

The Arts Council Collection is based at Southbank Centre, London and at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield. For further information about the Arts Council Collection please visit Loans from the Collection are generally free of charge. Where exceptional curatorial or technical support is required a small fee may be charged to cover administration, preparation and installation costs. To enquire about borrowing work from the Arts Council Collection, email

New Acquisitions 2004-2005  

New Acquisitions 2004-2005