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Arts Council Collection New Acquisitions 2010—11

Arts Council Collection New Acquisitions 2010—11

Chair of the Acquisitions Committee Caroline Douglas The external members of the Acquisitions Committee 2009-11: Carey Young Kay Pallister Mark Sladen

Jananne Al-Ani Jananne Al-Ani’s Shadow Sites I was developed within a body of work titled The Aesthetics of Disappearance: A Land Without People. The artist has written that this body of work “explored the dis­ appearance of the body in the contest­ed and highly charged landscapes of the Middle East.” The work was filmed in Jordan using aerial film to capture desert landscapes and archaeological sites whilst also capturing more recent marks on the landscape such as those made by farming, mining and military training. The work takes it title from the act of searching for outlines of archaeological features known as ‘shadow sites’, which at ground level remain undetected. From the air, when the sun is low in the sky, these sites and features are

periodically revealed as the sun passes over them. Al-Ani has explaned that “Part of the appeal of using the dual technologies of flight and photography in this project lay in the possibility of the landscape itself exposing signs of survival and loss and becoming the bearer of particularly resilient and recurring memories.” Shadow Sites I was shown as part of a major solo exhibition at Darat al Funn in Amman, Jordan in 2010. Shadow Sites I was supported by Arts Council England. Shadow Sites I, 2010 Super 16 mm film transferred to HDCAM, 14 minutes 20 seconds. Photo: Adrian Warren

Claire Barclay

An interest in craft processes informs much of Claire Barclay’s work, and her sculptures and installations have often drawn on techniques used in weaving, wood-turning, ceramics and printmaking. In 2008 she was commis­ sioned to make a new work at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. Quick slow was a collaboration with David Cochrane, the master weaver at the tapestry centre, in which she combined hand-crafted tapestry and printed silk with painted steel and machined brass, bringing a traditional craft technique together with machine-finished materials. Barclay’s work has been described as a careful balance between ‘function and dysfunc­ tion, understanding and bafflement’.

Quick slow, 2010 painted steel, tapestry (wool, silk, linen) printed fabric and machined brass, 189 × 100 × 45 cm

Christine Borland

SimBodies Eargirl, 2009, plaster head, wooden plinth, glass dome, Edition of 3, 170 × 44 × 44 cm SimBodies Choking Charlie, 2009, plaster head, wooden plinth, glass dome, Edition of 3, 170 × 44 × 44 cm

Borland’s practice negotiates territories in art, ethics, medical humanities and bio-politics. She gathers her source material as a result of time spent in institutions associated with medicine, observing and participating in their practices. Borland does not merely ex­ pose her findings within the gallery but creates deeply poetic works that reinvest clinical observations with a human dimension, introducing aesthetics and ambiguity to an arena dominated by function and objectivity. Her works often raise unsettling questions by making visible a world which is usually inaccessible to the public. Given the sensitive nature of her work, Borland has devised a personal moral framework, which serves to inform her practice and her choice of materials. Glasgow Sculpture Studios

Helen Chadwick

Helen Chadwick frequently used the female body as a theme throughout her work to explore areas of identity, gender and sexuality. In the late 1980s, Chadwick began to move away from overt self re­ presentation, and produced a series of Viral Landscapes. These consisted of super-sized images of cells from her body, which contained viruses, superimposed on photo­graphs of rocky landscapes. From here she moved on to produce a series of Meat Abstracts which were photographs of meat and electrical lights with elab­orate backdrops. Comparisons can be drawn between Chadwick’s Meat Abstracts and the etching Anatoli, which was produced in the same year.

Anatoli, 1989 etching and aquatint with relief, 95 × 67 cm Gift of Arts Council England, 2010

Marcus Coates

Dawn Chorus, 2007 multi-channel video installation, 18 minutes Commissioned and produced by Picture This and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Funded by the Wellcome Trust. Photo: Installation view BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Marcus Coates’ major installation Dawn Chorus takes on the ambitious task of recreating birdsong using the human voice. Using digital technology, Coates has created a fourteen-screen instal­ lation which, much like previous work, explores the similarities between human and animal behavior. Coates, together with wildlife sound recordist, Geoff Sample, spent 576 hours in the Northumberland countryside re­ cording the birdsong of over 15 different species. The birdsong was then manip­ ulated by being slowed down up to 16 times. This enabled 19 singers to imitate and recreate the birds while being filmed in their own natural human, domestic habitats. The films were then returned to normal speed and shown on screens installed at levels corresponding to the natural positions of the birds.

Martin Creed To accompany the Chorus! Festival at Southbank Centre in 2010, Martin Creed created Work No 409 for the JCB glass lift at the Royal Festival Hall. As visitors travel up and down in the lift they are accom­ panied by scales in four-part harmony which correspond with the progression of the lift. As you reach the sixth and final floor, the scales reach A sharp, and as you descend to the ground floor you hear bottom E.

Work No 409, 2010 piece for choir and elevator, dimensions variable Photo: Sam Peach Gift of the artist and Hauser and Wirth, London

Enitharmon Editions Portfolio I have Found a Song, published by Enitharmon Editions, is a collection of poems and images to mark the Bicen­ten­ary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807. Twelve poets were commissioned by Arts Council England to write on the theme of enslavement. Together with these poems are a collection of prints by five artists: Sonia Boyce, Hew Locke, Shanti Panchal, Chris Steele-Perkins and Paula Rego. The artists were asked to pro­duce work on the same theme of enslavement to accompany the poems. The edition is limited to 35 copies.

I have Found a Song, 2010 Limited edition book incorporating two etchings, two lithographs and one inkjet print, each 49 × 39.5 cm Gift of Enitharmon Editions, London

Poets include Patience Agbabi, Polly Atkin, Valerie Bloom, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, Fred D’Aguiar, Helen Dunmore, Bernardine Evaristo, Paul Farley, Jacob Sam-La Rose, Iain Sinclair, Hugo Williams and Benjamin Zephaniah.

Chris Evans Since the late 1990s Chris Evans’ practice has frequently engaged with institutional and corporate culture. Previous projects have featured collaborations with the managing directors of a group of retail and telecommunications companies (Radical Loyalty, 2003) as well as reciprocal por­traits by judge and accused (The Rock and the Judge, 2005). Home Entertain­ment 2010 was originally commissioned by Marres Centre for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht for an exhibition entitled ‘Depression’. The work is a func­tioning weathervane in black powder-coated steel. Following the wind direction the weathervane points away from the gallery and towards other buildings around it. Home Entertainment produces a witty and visually dramatic institutional critique

that raises questions about the role of the museum or gallery in relation to mass culture.

Home Entertainment, 2010 painted steel, width 400 cm

Peter Fraser A paper plane, a polystyrene cup and red wall cables are among the mundane everyday objects photographed in Peter Fraser’s Nazraeli, 2006 and Lost for Words, 2010 series. Fraser’s glossy large-scale photo­graphs transform conventional views of these overlooked objects. A different strategy is adopted with each series, though the underlying preoccupations remain consistent, as he explains: “this is essentially trying to understand what the world around is made of through the art of photographing it.”

Untitled, 2006 Fujicolour crystal archive c-print, 99 × 149 cm Untitled, 2006 Fujicolour crystal archive c-print, 99 × 149 cm Untitled, 2010 digital pigment print, 50.8 × 76.2 cm Untitled, 2010 digital pigment print, 50.8 × 76.2 cm Untitled, 2010 digital pigment print, 50.8 × 76.2 cm Untitled, 2006 Fujicolour crystal archive c-print, 99 × 149 cm Untitled, 2006 Fujicolour crystal archive c-print, 99 × 149 cm     Untitled, 2010 digital pigment print, 61 × 85 cm

Peter Fraser has generously gifted four works from his Lost for Words series to accompany the acquisition of four works from his Nazraeli series.

Richard Grayson The Golden Space City of God is a largescale video installation featuring a score by Leo Chadburn, performed by a 26-person choir, in Say Si in San Antonio Texas. Installed in a space containing theatre drapes, plastic stacking chairs and floor tiles, the visitor’s impression is more of a community centre than a gallery. Using texts from a website associated with the 1960s American Christian cult ‘The Family’ (formerly The Children of God), events leading up to the end of the world drawn from the Book of Revelation are described and re-imagined through the imagery and language of science fiction. The chorus invokes the dramas of war, economic collapse, widespread unemployment and social unrest, before the reign of a new world

leader, who abolishes capitalism. A giant golden spaceship emerges, driven by God, to take away the elect in order to explore and conquer new horizons.

The Golden Space City of God, 2009 video installation, 45 minutes

Commissioned and produced by Artpace, San Antonio and Matt’s Gallery London.

Roger Hiorns

Untitled (Alliance) consists of two decom足 missioned aircraft engines, which were once part of military surveillance planes. As with previous works, Roger Hiorns has explored further his interest in machine forms, and has subjected the engines to material alteration. In Untitled (Alliance) the artist has incorporated, into the engines, crushed forms of three pharma足 ceuticals-Effexor, Citalopram and Mannitol. By incorporating these pharma足 ceuticals, which are used to treat trauma and depression, the work makes refer足 ence to the creation and alleviation of anxiety on both a national and personal level, addressing the connection between global security and individual well being. The work was originally commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago

Untitled (Alliance), 2010 Pratt & Whitney TF33 P9 engines that were once mounted on a Boeing EC-135 surveillance plane. Effexor, Citalopram, and Mannitol, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the Bluhm Family Terrace Gift of the artist and Corvi Mora, London. Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation

Alan Kane Trying to Die Happy comprises a selection of thirty-three photographs taken from several thousand which were shot in the 1990s around London. Featuring friends, strangers, favourite routes, oddities and situations, Alan Kane uses his camera “as a vehicle to conduct dialogues and as a way of recording activity”. Kane sees art in all aspects of everyday life and this is clearly illustrated in his series Trying to Die Happy. Describing the camera as “an invitation to perform, a microscope and a pair of blinkers”, Kane is as much a participant in the photographs as the subject itself, often provoking and encouraging his subjects to respond to the camera. Trying to Die Happy, 1995–2001 33 colour photographs

Michael Landy

Our limit is that of the desire and imagination of the human mind, 1996 colour photograph in artist’s frame, 100.5 × 55 cm Gift of Karsten Schubert

Between 1994 and 1996, Michael Landy collected aluminium drinks cans, food wrappers and cigarette packets for his major installation work Scrapheap Services. The installation was first shown at Chisenhale Gallery London, and later in the important exhibition Brilliant! at the Walker Art Gallery in Minneapolis, USA. Scrapheap Services imagined a fictional company designed to dispose of un­want­ed human beings. It was the artist’s response to the then government’s approach to the homeless and jobless in society, but coincided also with the wide emergence of the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the context of the war in the Balkans. This photograph is a self-portrait of the artist dressed as an operative of the Scrapheap Services company, engaged in clearing a ‘litter’ of human figures.

Alastair Mackinven Alastair Mackinven works as a perfor­ mance artist, sculptor and painter and uses his work to question and review art world myths. His work examines the idealised conceptions of the art world together with questioning the role of the artist and how galleries display work. Mackinven’s post credit crunch series of abstract canvases Abstract Capitalist Realism continue these themes address­ ing, more specifically, issues between the art world and the economy. In these works Mackinven borrows graphic patterns from data protection envelopes, pay slips, gas and water bills, and then collages on to them further enlarged and intensely coloured abstract shapes and prints. Mackinven describes them as “paying for your life.”

Design For Transparent Currency II, 2009 ink on newsprint, 42 × 34 cm Negative Equity, Light The Match For Momart 2, 2009 screen print and oil on canvas, 220 × 160 cm Design For Abstract Currency, 2009 ink on newsprint, 53 × 37 cm

Goshka Macuga In 1926 the constructivist artist and designer El Lissitzky created a room for abstract art at the Internationale Kunst­ ausstellung in Dresden, and two years later he was invited to recreate this idea for what is now the Landesmuseum in Hannover. Called a Kabinett der Abstrakten the room presented works by avant-garde artists such as Picasso, Léger and Mondrian at a time when no other European museums were showing them. By the early 1930s abstraction, along with most other progressive forms of art had been deemed ‘bourgeois’ and ‘degenerate’ by the incoming totalitarian regimes in Europe, and were removed from public exhibition.

Goshka Macuga’s work Kabinett der Abstrakten (after El Lissitzky), 2003, unearths this historical relationship between the museum and the avantgarde. As with many of her works, this large-scale installation simultaneously evokes the figures of the artist, the curator and the collector. Based on a simplified version of a Japanese curio cabinet, visitors are invited to open the cabinet to reveal the objects within. Chosen with their relation to each other in mind, Macuga’s borrowed objects are then displayed within her sculpture.

Kabinett der Abstrakten (after El Lissitzky), 2003 MDF, oak veneer, lacquer, 200 × 200 × 200 cm

Installation view: Star City – The Future Under Communism, Nottingham Contemporary, 2010. Photo Andy Keate, courtesy Nottingham Contemporary and Kate MacGarry, London

Lindsay Seers

Tales of magic, alchemy, secret societies and medieval philosophy dominate the narrative of Lindsay Seers’ two-channel video projection, The Truth Was Always There. As Seers herself does not speak in her films, science writer Philip Ball, who first introduced Seers to the history of alchemy and natural magic, narrates leaving the viewer to piece the story together, separating fact from fiction and the normal and paranormal. The work traces Seers’ connections between her family, and Lincolnshire’s role in the history of alchemy. Combined with an ambiguous soundscape of rumbles and rustles, an atmosphere of uncertainty and dread is created, imparting a sense of mystery that contrasts with the rationality of the narrator. The Truth Was Always There, 2006–2010 two-channel video projection with sound, 15 minutes 9 seconds

George Shaw The painting The End of Time is of the site of a pub in the Tile Hill area on the edge of Coventry. Latterly called the Woodsman before it burned down, the pub is remembered not so much as a place where the artist drank, but as a place he passed every time he went to visit his mother. Over a period of two years the burned shell of the old pub was demolished, until all that was left were the concrete footings. A painting of a place where something once was, The End of Time has a brooding emptiness that the painter pushes to the point of abstraction.

The End of Time, 2008–2009 enamel on board, 147.5 × 198 cm

Stephen Sutcliffe

The Garden of Proserpine, 2008 video transfered to DVD, 2 minutes 8 seconds

Stephen Sutcliffe’s videos merge together film footage and audio recordings from his own extensive archive. The Garden of Proserpine combines an exert from an episode of Monty Python, a looped instrumental section from a track by The Smiths and a recording of Judi Dench reading Algernon Charles Swinburne’s poem The Garden of Proserpine. Sutcliffe’s method of constructing his films involves a process of association for each piece of material. He layers and collages, linking by association, establishing complex relationships. Here Proserpine’s garden, as described by Swinburne’s poem, becomes entwined with the setting of the Monty Python scene. Together with the music, the film seems to suggest that the men are battling one another in order to reach the eternal sleep to which the poem refers.

All images Š the artist or the artist’s estate.

Cover: Roger Hiorns Untitled (Alliance), 2010

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 2010-2011  

New acquistions in the Arts Council Collection from 2010-2011