Arts Council Collection New Acquisitions 2009â€”10
Arts Council Collection New Acquisitions 2009— 10
This publication presents the sixty-three works by twenty-four artists, acquired by the Arts Council Collection in 2009–10. The year just ending has been remarkable not only for some outstanding purchases, but also for a number of gifts of extraordinary quality. For these we are indebted to Bridget Riley, to Wolfgang Tillmans and Outset Contemporary Art Fund, as well as to Alison Jacques, Anton Kern and an anonymous donor. The past twelve months have seen a particular focus on acquisitions in photography, and we are delighted to see such a strong group of works enter the Collection, giving context to each other and reflecting a number of developments in the medium in recent years.
We are grateful to the external members of the Acquisitions Committee for their tremendous support and the energy they bring to the Collection. The external members of the Acquisitions Committee for 2009–11: Carey Young Artist Kay Pallister Freelance Curator Mark Sladen Curator and Writer
‘Since 2004, Avery’s work has focused on a single, epic project, The Islanders. Described by the artist as a ‘philosophical allegory’, this is an encyclopaedic investigation of an imaginary island and everything it contains as seen through the eyes of an explorer. The anonymous protagonist is also a hunter, whose elusive quarry is a mythical beast which no-one has ever seen. In periodic breaks from his never-ending quest for this creature, the explorer brings documentation and material evidence from the Island back to the known world.’
Helen Luckett (Extract from Walking in My Mind catalogue, Hayward Gallery, 2009)
Untitled (Hunter), 2008/2009, pencil and ink on tracing paper, 64 × 45 cm
JULIETTE BLIGHTMAN as a period in which nothing happened, 2007 16mm film, 2 min 58 sec Please Water the Plant and Feed the Fish, 2008 plant, apple, goldfish bowl, stand; variable dimensions
Blightman’s compositions are characterised by an objectivism that is gradually infected with the minute and shifting experience of passing time. In as a period in which nothing happened (2007), Blightman uses the medium to emphasise the reality of what is in front of her camera. Each work consists of a single shot, the length of which is dictated by the standard three-minute duration of the film stock. Please Water the Plant and Feed the Fish (2008) employs the simple placement of objects and turns the gallery into a live composition. Objects activate internal frames that echo the way in which the windows frame the external world. Richard Birkett
BECKY BEASLEY Hide, 2004/2006 gloss fibre-based, gelatin silver print, 40 × 30 cm ← Trap, 2006 matt fibre-based gelatin silver print, archival linen tape, eyelets, 141 × 178 cm Installation view: At the Surface of the Infinite, Noisy Le Sec, Paris, 2009 Covering (1) (Athens Archive), 2004/2007 gloss fibre-based gelatin silver print, 37.3 × 37.3 cm Gloss II, 2007 matt fibre-based gelatin silver print, archival linen tape, eyelets, 168 × 200 cm Infirme, 2004/2006 black and white gloss fibre-based gelatin silver print, 30 × 40 cm Stool, Towel, 2006 gloss fibre-based gelatin silver print, 31 × 31 cm
Covering (1) (Athens Archive) ‘The transition from working only with found, domestic objects to producing my own came during a six month period spent in Athens. During this time my relationship to objects changed radically. I became interested in temporary structures which appeared and disappeared daily in a city under rapid re-construction and modernization.’ Hide, Infirme and Stool, Towel ‘I was thinking a lot about what I call Kafka’s “feral works” at the time, The Burrow in particular which I think is a great parable about anxiety and architecture. I am also interested in the fact that there is no behind, or inside, or underneath, to the image, but representational illusion confuses one into imagining that there is. For me this is to do with art’s cadaverous quality.’
Gloss II ‘Gloss II is a photograph of a ²⁄³ scale model I made based on the external dimensions of an upright piano. The skeletal form becomes a kind of small bookshelf. The photograph is printed on matt paper and the object I made for the photograph was painted with black matt and gloss paint. The matt and gloss surfaces register distinctly in the matt print. The idea with the title is that the registration of the “gloss” on the matt print is confusing.’ Becky Beasley
The Walk to Dover was an off-site commission for Studio Voltaire. The project involved a seven-day walk from London to Dover by ‘Victorian Urchins’. Emulating the narrative from Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield, Chetwynd led a small group of walkers from London to Dover. The walk retraced Copperfield’s journey from a Blacking Warehouse in London to Dover where he found sanctuary with his Aunt, Betsy Trotwood. The film documents the journey, using still photography and sound recordings creating a collaged narrative. The Walk to Dover draws comparisons between Victorian ‘Debt Prisons’ and our current credit card culture.
The Walk to Dover, 2005–7 DVD and accompanying installation, 11 min 33 sec
KEITH COVENTRY Following the Collection’s major acquistion of work from the Crack City series in 2008–9, Keith Coventry has generously agreed to a ten-year loan of the five Estate Paintings that were the genesis of the series.
Crack City (Pegasus Tower), 1993 Crack City (Berwick Tower), 1993 Crack City (Archer Tower), 1993 → Crack City (Druid Tower), 1993 Naseby, 1993 all oil on canvas, wood, gesso and glass, 61 × 51 cm On long loan from the artist through Haunch of Venison, London
ALEXANDRE DA CUNHA
‘For the exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, I was trying to relate objects with the idea of tourism and how people don’t actually know much about the culture they find themselves in. There are two aspects – one perhaps is more of a formalist way of approaching the material through art history and the other one has to do with the subject where you see the work. In this case, with this coconut cast (Red Fountain, Blue Fountain) it’s impossible not to think about different countries or how people perceive different cultures.’ Alexandre da Cunha. (Extract from an interview with David Yu, ArtSlant.com)
Red Fountain, 2009 plaster, concrete, plastic straw, 140 × 40 × 40 cm Gift of Outset Contemporary Art Fund, 2010
Matthew Darbyshire The ubiquitous New Labour cultural slogan ‘Access for All’ implies an insidious connection between access to the arts and access to economic prosperity and material consumption. Darbyshire contends that this assault on perceived cultural exclusivity has resulted not in universal emancipation but in a one-size-fits-all blandness that actually masks a society still riven by inequality. The objects that he buys, borrows, steals or (as a last resort) fabricates himself are all icons of aspiration – whether they are art works, pop songs or pieces of furniture. The fact that their meanings have been flattened attests only to their failure as transcendent objects, or to our failure to allow them to be so. Jonathan Griffin
Untitled: Furniture Island No. 4, 2009 carpet, paper lantern, stools, classroom table, jesus figurine, acrylic picnic glasses, 1960s vase and trainers 210 × 210 × 200 cm
JEREMY DELLER The Uses of Literacy is a key early work by Deller, and elaborates in physical form his frequently employed strategy of working with particular interest groups and communities. Deller took the title of his work from Richard Hoggart’s seminal 1957 book ‘The Uses of Literacy’ which located popular culture in a wider sociological and political context within the lives of the working class. For this project, Deller advertised for material donated by fans of the Welsh band The Manic Street Preachers in the weekly music paper Melody Maker. He was overwhelmed by the response. His initial intuition, that the band’s engagement with art and literature served to unite a socially and
geographically displaced group of individuals, was proven emphatically correct. The result is a display of paintings, collages, drawings, books, poetry and ephemera arranged informally on the wall and on a reading table. Deller himself does not appropriate the work as his own, but acts more as director or curator of it, reversing the usual hierarchical order by placing the work of amateurs in the gallery.
The Uses of Literacy, 1997 installation, dimensions variable Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund
‘I see a lot of my work as a resurrection of sorts, not for sentimental or nostalgic reasons, but for survival reasons. The singularity of each painting is preserved by working in a random ordered series. The paintings I make, the faces, the objects involve interventions and act as ‘stand-ins’ for something else. The Supplicants are not portraits or true reflections of the models. They are about something else — they are not mutants, they are just unknowable.’ Milena Dragićević
Supplicant -66, 2007 oil on linen, 61 × 51 cm ← Supplicant 101, 2008 oil on linen, 61 × 51 cm Supplicant 202, 2009 oil on linen, 61 × 51 cm
SAUL FLETCHER ‘In his photographs Saul Fletcher visualizes human existence in all its temporal dimensions and physical fragility. The scenes he depicts achieve a concentrated intimacy: in order to take in every detail, the viewer is compelled to get as close as possible to the work. His careful still lifes draw attention to details; the discarded moments of the everyday become the focus, and in this way are imbued with new or altered meaning.’ Untitled #204 (Curtain), 2009 Untitled #206 (Ronnie), 2009 Untitled #207 (Alex), 2009 Untitled #208 (Lili), 2009 Untitled #209 (Shade), 2009 Untitled #212, (S ⁄ P Saul), 2009 all black and white polaroid, 13.3 × 10.8 cm Partial gift of Alison Jacques and Anton Kern
Renate Wagner (Extract from the catalogue of the 4th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, 2006)
‘I met Marion Oag in 1968. She became a life-long friend and, before leaving for London in the 1970s, a favourite model. This was drawn with a Rotring Rapidograph pen, in a room where I lodged in Turnbury Road between 1971 and 75. The easel behind her (which I still use) supports a partly visible oil painting which is still unfinished. I gave the drawing to Marion, who gave it to her sister. In 2006 I told Marion of my forthcoming book A Life in Pictures. She suggested I use it and got her sister to post it to me, telling me also that I could keep it as the sister did not want it back. I greatly liked the drawing, which I could not remember, and decided to improve it by tinting the background a little. Marion Oag died in 2008. I forgot the name of the married sister who owned it. It may never have been publicly exhibited.’
‘Though begun as a drawing on paper, Juliet in Red Trousers was completed at the first sitting. I cut the figure out and pasted it onto a wooden board, and set out to make this an oil painting built up meticulously, in the manner of Cézanne. This required each brush stroke to render a different tone and colour from the one beside it, each stroke corresponding to a different glance at the sitter before me.’ Alasdair Gray
Marion Oag and the Birth of the Northern Venus, 1977 Indian ink on paper, 60.5 × 34.5 cm Juliet in Red Trousers, 1976 framed oil on paper, mounted on wood, 99 × 49.5 cm
ANNE HARDY Anne Hardy’s photographs are of constructed, fictional spaces that she creates within the studio. She has a fascination with both social space and places that are, in some sense, hidden or private. The photographs also portray the artist’s interest in the interaction of individuals with the built environment. The artist has said... ‘I see each work as being equivalent to something like a short story. There is a relationship in my mind between the literature and the work, in the way that writing can present a parallel and alternate yet compelling version of the world around you.’
Incidence, 2009 c-print diasec mounted, 133 × 165.5 cm Coordinate, 2009 analogue c-print, 124 × 159 cm
Diversified Cultural Worker 3, 2008 Swarovski crystals, oil and acrylic on canvas, 55.5 × 46 × 1.5 cm Composite Picture 3 (Diversified Cultural Worker), 2008 Swarovski crystals, oil and acrylic on canvas, 55.9 × 46.5 × 2 cm Diversified Cultural Worker 4, 2008 Swarovski crystals, oil and acrylic on canvas, 55.5 × 46 × 1.5 cm
‘In my recent series of paintings, figures or “characters” formed from a mass of smears and paint marks (reminiscent of those on a traditional painter’s palette) are adorned with the baseball cap and gold chain signifiers of hip-hop and “ned” cultures. But with the portraits being titled Diversified Cultural Workers, the security of what is represented and who is doing the representing is brought under pressure. The series attempts a critique of the simplistic, market-research based categorisation of individuals into types, the notion of difference being used to avoid value judgements and the altruistic gesture-as-career-move artist.’ Iain Hetherington
‘White Noise is a series of photographic works engaging with the language of the sublime and uncanny in order to explore the complex relationship between contemporary industrial society and the natural world.
Array was made in Norway in February 2006 whilst staying for two weeks on Andoya Rocket Range base, and the geometrical form within the photograph is that of a field of the antenna of a radio telescope. The repetition of the structure creates a certain resonance, one that can be found in both man-made and natural phenomena. It appeared to me as if it were a highly organized artificial forest echoing nature.’ Dan Holdsworth Array, from the series White Noise, 2006 c-type photograph, 122 × 152 cm
‘I make abstract paintings in relation to small watercolour studies that initiate possibilities or act as starting points for new works. The watercolours are made in response to my ongoing observation of the formal devices used to represent abstract language within painting.
The work attempts to gather and to clear; gather in the sense of bringing things into view, then clearing through a process of reducing and refining the surface. This method allows each painting to suggest an autonomous centre, ultimately resisting the tradition of compositional outcome (each new work being informed by the previous), allowing the activity and language to remain precarious and the surface convincing.’ Robert Holyhead
Untitled, 2009 oil on canvas, 50.8 x 35.6 cm Anonymous gift, 2009
The Sayonara Room, 2008 installation, dimensions variable
‘The Sayonara Room formed part of a major installation that was situated on the top floor of an office block that stands on the former site of the Electric Palace Cinema in Archway, North London. The installation – constructed from cut and reformed office cabinets – took its title from the last film shown at The Electric Palace, The Lonely House, 1957. The Lonely House (veranda) purchased in 2009 is one of a series of collages fabricated from old paper ephemera selected from charity and second hand bookshops in the area of Archway. The component elements of these artworks are constructed to give a sense the temporary relationship between object and image within cinematic architectural spaces.’ Laurence Kavanagh
‘Groups + Locations (Moscow), is a series of photographs taken at historic sites in and around Moscow. The work refers to a moment when photography played an important role in the Russian people’s comprehension of what their vast lands and its inhabitants looked like. Groups + Locations takes the vernacular of historic group portraiture as a cue for structuring contemporary images that are similarly striking in the intensity of a given group collectively directing their gazes, their looking focused by the camera. In a culture where photography is still prohibited in many designated public spaces, the participation of the passersby and the resulting images develop a political charge.’ Melanie Manchot
Groups + Locations (Moscow) Aeroflot, 12.36pm, 2005 photographic c-type print, 76 × 111 cm Groups + Locations (Moscow), Park of Economic Achievements, 1.44pm, 2005 photographic c-type print, 76 × 111 cm
‘In 2004 I spent a year working in Port Glasgow, the world centre for shipbuilding fifty years ago, now a town facing economic decline. The result of this stay was a beautifully produced coffee table-style book. Conceived as a symbolic gift, and unavailable commercially, the book was delivered uniquely to each of the 8000 households in the community by the local boys football club. Rather than having a public artwork imposed upon them, the Portonians received a document of their lives and of their participation as both the hosts and protagonists of an artistic experiment. Newborn Lamb and the film Fancy Pictures were commissioned for an exhibition at Mount Stuart, on the Isle of Bute, in 2008. I was fascinated by the context: the triangular relationship between Mount Stuart Trust, the artist, and the
community on the island. When you look at the history of painting, the notion that a commissioned artwork can look objectively at the relationship between a land-owning commissioner, and those who work the land, seems contentious, and thus a fertile position to explore. This involved engaging, over a sustained period, with a closely knit, working community, and giving substantial authorial control back to it.’ Mark Neville
Port Glasgow Town Hall Xmas Party ( Betty), 2005 c-type print, a copy of the book ‘Port Glasgow’, and a portfolio of community responses from Portonians Fancy Pictures, 2008 16 mm film, 18 min Newborn Lamb, 2008 c-type hand print, 102 × 127 cm
The three colour studies for the painting Late Morning from 1967 were a gift to the Collection from the artist on the occasion of her new exhibition Flashback: Bridget Riley which opened at the Walker Art Gallery in September 2009 and tours nationwide through 2010. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 6 February – 23 May 2010 Norwich Castle Museum 5 June – 5 September 2010 Southampton City Art Gallery 17 September – 5 December 2010
Late Morning. Colour and Sequence Study. Revised right hand passage for L, 1967 gouache and pencil on graph paper, 15.3 × 102.9 cm Late Morning. Colour and Sequence Study. Used in image E, L, 1967 gouache and pencil on graph paper, 14.8 × 64.3 cm Late Morning. Colour and Sequence Study. Used in image G, F, J, K, 1967 gouache and pencil on graph paper, 15.3 × 100.3 cm Gift of the artist, 2009
The body as vessel, as instrument, as receiver and transmitter, reflexively paralleled with the recording and projecting mechanics of film, photography and video, is a consistent feature of Seersâ€™ work. Many of her still images are characterised by two themes: the artist herself as both viewing subject/recording instrument and viewed object, and the comparability between photography and vampirism. John Hilliard (Extract from The Fatal Kiss of the Shutter in the exhibition catalogue Hands On)
Deeâ€™s Tree, 2005 mouth photograph, 4 cm diameter Kiss, 2005 mouth photograph, 4 cm diameter
‘In the recent series Conjurations (2008/09) I use basic illusions (both magical and photographic) to draw parallels between the practice and motives of photographers and stage magicians. In the still photographs Girl in Two Halves and Aerial Suspension I use the tricks available to contemporary photographers to ‘fool’ the viewer. In all of the works in this series I use teenage women as the models/collaborators, alluding to the common supposition that young women possess ‘special powers’ or ‘supernatural abilities’. Conjurations are the most recent work and continue my long-standing research into the medium of photography and its relationship to the chosen subject.’ Clare Strand
Aerial Suspension, 2008 Lambda fibre prints, 101.6 × 127cm The Appearing Lady, 2007 silver gelatin print, 101.6 × 127cm Girl in two Halves, 2008 lambda fibre prints, 101.6 × 127cm
NIGEL SHAFRAN ‘When I put RuthBook together, I looked at how people reacted to the sequence. I wanted the book sequence to work like an emotional wave. That’s also the case with my later book Dad’s Office, which is more melancholic. I wanted it left quite open in that the subject is my father’s furniture and bits and pieces in his office and I didn’t want to entirely spell out what it meant to me, but to leave it ambiguous. That’s what I do. It really is, that’s probably the most important thing to say about my work — it’s just what I do.’ Nigel Shafran
Fruit bowl collecting water (from Dad’s office 1996–1998), 1996/1998 c-type photographic print, 47 × 57.4 cm Kitchen table (from Dad’s office 1996–1998), 1996–1998 c-type photographic print, 48.6 × 61.3 cm Seatless chair (from Dad’s office 1996–1998), 1996–1998 c-type photographic print, 48.6 × 61.3 cm
BETTINA VON ZWEHL ‘In the body of work Profiles III, I was hoping to present each baby as an intelligent human being. The profile is a rare view in childhood, and it gives them a powerful and graceful presence in the frame. Before coming to London I spent 3 years in Rome, assisting two photographers who specialised in the reproduction of classical art and architecture and portraiture. The way I experienced Renaissance paintings in Rome shaped my whole approach to portraiture, which becomes most obvious in the three profile series. I never get bored of looking at a person’s profile – it is a very powerful way of representing a person and the one theme I know I’ll keep returning to.’ Bettina von Zwehl
No.3 from Profiles III, 2005–6 c type print, 123 × 159 cm
WOLFGANG TILLMANS Wolfgang Tillmansâ€™ photographic practice since the 1990s constititutes a degree of innovation in the field that is arguably unmatched anywhere. While his work bears close relation to traditional genres in painting such as portraiture and still life as well as abstraction, his understanding of the photograph as physical object is unique. This major group of nine framed works, including large-scale abstract and figurative prints, reflect some of the most recent developments in the artistâ€™s work, as well as his magazine work from the early 1990s.
↖ Dan, 2008 c-type print framed in artist’s frame, 43.9 × 33.9 × 2.7 cm
Silver 57, 2006 c-type print mounted in Forex in artist’s frame, 228 × 181.2 × 6 cm
Gedser, 2004 c-type print framed in artist’s frame, 63 × 52.8 cm
Empire (Punk), 2005 c-type print mounted in Forex in artist’s frame, 243 × 181 × 6 cm
← ← Paperdrop (London), 2004, c-type print framed in artist’s frame, 54.3 × 64.3 × 2.5 cm ↖ ↖ Faltenwurf (Morgan) II, 2009, c-type print mounted on Forex in artist’s frame, 210.2 × 145.2 × 6 cm ← Lighter AC 3, 2009 c-type print framed in artist’s frame, 64.5 × 54.3 × 12.5 cm Lighter, red II, 2008 c-type print framed in artist’s frame, 64.5 × 54.2 × 3.9 cm
Beerenstilleben, 2007 c-type print mounted in Forex in artist’s frame, 145.2 × 212.8 × 6 cm Partial gift of the artist and Maureen Paley, London. Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund.
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 www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk 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 email@example.com All images ÂŠ the artist
Cover: Mark Neville Fancy Pictures, 2008