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StruC cture & mat terial Claire Barclay Becky Beasley Karla Black

An Arts Council Collection exhibition curated by Katrina Brown and Caroline Douglas

Karla Black Persuader Face 2011. Photo: Jonty Wilde

Structure & Material Foreword The exhibition Structure & Material represents the culmination of a long held ambition, to bring together work by three artists whose practice I have followed and admired for a number of years. It has been a pleasure to work towards this with Katrina Brown, Director of The Common Guild, and Natalie Rudd, and to share our conviction about the distinction and importance of the work with Helen Legg at Spike Island in Bristol and Deborah Robinson and Stephen Snoddy at The New Art Gallery Walsall, where this exhibition will be shown after its debut in Yorkshire. In presenting the works of Claire Barclay, Becky Beasley and Karla Black we make no claims as to shared concerns or motivations, but instead hope simply to enable greater understanding of their meaning by bringing them into proximity with each other. In beginning her essay, Katrina Brown evokes the image of ‘dancing about architecture’ to illustrate the notion of translating one art form into another. The dance analogy is particularly resonant here: the figures of the works in Structure & Material stand in space as compelling, and yet as unfamiliar in their physical vocabulary as dancers in the most progressive choreography. There are constructed objects, unique prints and photographs and three works made specifically in response to the gallery space and the landscape of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which is always so powerful a presence in any exhibition here. The viewer is forced to look hard, to discern the recognisable elements, the references to traditional forms, and then look again in order to understand the way they are re-purposed. Within this exhibition are materials commonly associated with interior design, such as

tapestry, hardwood, steel and leather, as well as materials that more radically challenge our preconceptions of what sculpture can be: polythene, plaster dust and cosmetics. It is significant that the work of all three artists deals emphatically in the made object, as opposed to the found object, recalling Carl Andre’s assertion ‘my materials have yet to reach their cultural destiny’. It is not coincidental that the exhibition is presented at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, just weeks before the opening of The Hepworth Wakefield. Barbara Hepworth side-stepped questions of gender throughout her career, but she is nevertheless an unavoidably significant figure for any female artist working in Britain today. Within Structure & Material gender as an issue is there, and not there. Claire Barclay, Becky Beasley and Karla Black have distinctly evolved individual practices that focus on an acute interrogation of the business of object-making, on the creation of meaning through structures and materials. Engaged with perhaps the most maleidentified of all media, the sculpture of these three artists tacitly acknowledges a history that encompasses the iconic minimalism of Carl Andre and Sol Lewitt, as well as the radical, soft sculpture of Claes Oldenburg or early Barry Flanagan. In my first encounters with the work of Karla Black, her aesthetic was described with help of a quote from the artist: that she wanted the work to look as if it were on the brink of falling over, teetering on the edge of failure. Black’s use of cosmetics and toiletries is provocatively radical, and yet her work deals in an abstraction as fully rooted in an apprehension of the body as any form created by Hepworth herself. Becky Beasley’s work

can oscillate between a quite cerebral consideration of the relationship between the sculptural object and its photographic image, and the production of semi-autobiographical work, literally made on the measure of her father’s arm span. Claire Barclay combines lustrous, precision-machined metal elements, with forms derived from textiles and millinery, bringing together techniques that reference the functional and industrial, with sensual materials and methods more readily associated with the decorative and the body. What results here is a tension between function and dysfunction, alienating coolness and the attraction of softness, which creates a psychological unease around the work. I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the artists’ gallerists, with particular thanks to Laura Bartlett of Laura Bartlett Gallery, Wim Peeters of Office Baroque, David Hubbard of Stephen Friedman Gallery, Dorothee Sorge of Galerie Gisela Capitain and Susanna Beaumont of Doggerfisher, for their tremendous support of the exhibition. My thanks also go to Ruth Gooding at Longside for her meticulous preparation and organisation of the show. It has been a joy to find in Katrina Brown a collaborator who feels as strongly as I do about the works presented here, and we both extend our heartfelt thanks to the three artists who, in a year when they are all so intensely in demand, have given so much time and consideration to this exhibition. Caroline Douglas London, February 2011

Structure & Material Katrina brown ‘Why   is everything so beautiful now … the way this thing is lying on this, and the way that is like that. Why do I feel I am standing up straight ...’ 1 Writing about art is, as someone once put it, like dancing about architecture: applying one means of expression to another perhaps adds something to the experience, but it can offer no ‘explanation’. This is never truer than when the art in question is an art that begs to be experienced rather than interpreted or ‘read’.

Claire Barclay Flat Peach I 2010. Photography courtesy Stephen White

Such is the case with Structure & Material, an exhibition that looks at three very distinctive approaches to how objects make meaning. Discussions of the work by all three artists regularly circulate around an interest in our experience over information. Despite their occasional literary starting points and references, Becky Beasley’s photographic works and sculptures are often described as ‘mute’; Karla Black talks of her work as being ‘very anti-language’ and of her desire to ‘prioritise material experience over language’; while Claire Barclay regularly cites intuition and the innate responses at play in the process of making her work. This would suggest that all that can be said, all that any text such as this can do, is encourage the viewer to embark on an exploration of the work that accepts an instinctive and intuitive response to the materials and forms presented. We should perhaps rely on what artist Ann Hamilton refers to as ‘ the wisdom of the body’. There are, nonetheless, some words to be written about how this art comes to take its place before us, how these structures and materials come together and why they might hold our attention. The quest for open-endedness and ambiguity that runs through the works in this

Claire Barclay Soft Group 2010. Photography courtesy Stephen White

exhibition is a vibrant and constant force in the work of Claire Barclay, not least in the interplay between function and decoration in her sculptural installations. Barclay regularly uses what might be considered purely decorative materials or techniques to create structures that bear smaller objects. Her interest in the very nature of ‘display’ has led to an increasing integration of various methods of support into the fabric of her sculptures: there are no plinths, no shelves, no cases. Her sculptures are often, as here, punctuated by small, usually handsized metal components – spikes, cones – strikingly hard-edged and machine-made. The sculptural works by Barclay include prominent structural elements – the steel frame of Quick Slow (2010), the dark wooden ‘floors’ and uprights of Flat Peach and Soft Group (both 2010)- which function simultaneously as support mechanisms for the smaller objects within and as evocations of the fundamental matter of human construction, of designed environments. She has previously made works that allude to basic habitations – tents, for example, or dens – places offering minimal shelter and protection to the human body, but here the structures are more suggestive of the elaboration of the interior. At Longside Gallery, the first venue for the exhibition, Barclay’s direct intervention in the space through the manual application of mirror paint to the large glass windows lends a substance more normally found in austere, pristine corporate environments a more expressive, even home-spun character. In taking what is usually considered an architectural element like mirrored glass and manipulating it in this way, Barclay literally gets her hands on the material and treats it

Structure & Material Katrina brown fluidly and instinctively. She creates in and for the space a work that in part highlights the external landscape and in part obscures it. The reflections return us to ourselves, and with the internal space of the gallery and the works in it, create a kind of focal push-pull: perhaps the most succinct articulation of the schism between nature and culture that is so often to be found running through her work. Barclay’s tackling of mirror paint in this way is entirely in keeping with her habitually hands-on approach to making. She has said she believes ‘that we mustn’t lose touch with understanding the world through making and knowing how things come about. We shouldn’t take the production of objects for granted.’ 2 One consequence of this way of thinking is that Barclay has entirely eschewed the use of readymade objects, choosing instead to make the component parts of her works herself wherever she feasibly can. Over the years she has learned about a range of skills, including macramé, pottery, basket weaving and notably tapestry from the Dovecot Weavers, Edinburgh (evident in Quick Slow) and, most recently hat-making, the result of which we can see in Flat Peach (2010) included here. That she learns each technique as she is in the process of making the work invariably lends the resultant objects a distinctly hand-made quality, emphasising their origination. The fleshy tones of the leather and sinamay in Flat Peach, which find an echo in the accompanying unique screenprints, set up a further connection through forms that are suggestive of pockets or mittens, forms directly shaped for the body. By contrast, the readymade object plays an important part in the work of Becky Beasley, albeit concealed or at one remove

from the work with which we are ultimately confronted. Often minimal and monochrome and apparently devoid of human presence, Beasley’s works nonetheless deploy significant recall to familiar proportions, a combination that befits an artist who has said that she aims for her work to be ‘very mental and very physical’. Like Barclay, Beasley enjoys the contrast between soft and hard elements in her work, as evidenced by several of the photographic works here. We find hard structures covered by soft, pliable fabric, an approach first found in Covering (1) (Athens Archive) (200407), but also in the Curtain works (Curtains I – III, (2009)) and three of the photographs exhibited here – Infirme, Hide and Stool, Towel – which are from a series of works entitled ‘Surface Coverings / The Feral Works’ (2003+). The latter are portraits of found, familiar objects, each hidden beneath cloth coverings. The large gelatin silver print, Gloss II (2007) features a structure fabricated by the artist, the proportions and composition of which are recognisably those of an upright piano. Reduced to a rudimentary construction, more like a bookshelf or the carcass of a kitchen cabinet, Beasley’s structure is in fact an exact 2:3 model of a piano, though only in its framework or ‘housing’ and not its functional components. Beasley’s interest in surface, or perhaps more accurately finish, is evident in the ultramatt surfaces of her photographs and the occasional use of high-gloss in the objects she makes. This interest is manifest in the large print Gloss II and its related sculpture Night Music (2007) which takes the same form and makes it strangely unfamiliar through the simple act of turning it on its side. The latter work also exemplifies the kind of

Becky Beasley Night Music 2007

Becky Beasley Infirme 2004/2006

Becky Beasley Stool, Towel 2006

Structure & Material Katrina brown literary connections at play in Beasley’s work, with a title suggested by a Truman Capote short story, Music for Chameleons (1980), that features a piano and a black mirror – the two objects somehow merged here in Beasley’s sculpture. A similar translation from one form to another is in play in the group of wall-mounted works collectively titled Brocken (I-VII) (2009) and the two shelves (Shelves for My Parents 2010). These strangely potent, though simple objects cannot help but betray their connection to the human form – their proportions are all too familiar. The walnut woodworks are in fact derived from the arm of the artist’s father, with the hinges standing in place of his joints. The artist has described the sequence of works as beginning ‘with a full arm span, a gesture also known colloquially as measuring one’s own grave.’ In all of these works Beasley exploits the very familiarity of the original forms, even when stylised, reduced, abstracted or covered, to transform the ordinary into something more troubling, uncanny and full of potential resonance. Beasley’s works demonstrate the extent to which the very basic structures of these objects remain innately known to us, no matter how altered or obscured. There is no anthropomorphism to be found in the work of Karla Black, no recognisable human forms or dimensions. She is in this respect the most truly abstract of the three artists, and yet a sense of the body is inescapable in her work. Immensely fragile sculptures that regularly expand across large areas of floor or hang from ceilings are thoroughly imbued with marks of their making. They seem to articulate surfaces, emphasising the ground and the sky, and

our place between the two, an experience amplified at Longside Gallery by the landscape that remains partially visible beyond the windows. The notion of landscape is of great significance to Black, but not necessarily in a pictorial sense: more in the sense of its expanse, its all-encompassing nature. She has said that: ‘What I am always trying to achieve is a sculpture, the experience of encountering which could be like suddenly seeing a natural phenomenon like a river or a cloud.’3 In the resultant work, the intertwining of structure and material is absolute: she often uses materials only ever encountered in very small quantities in vast, industrial amounts – the tension between slight materials and their use to create scale and substance is a recurrent feature. Along with a distinctive palette of pale pastel hues, described by some as being like confetti, Black’s range of materials is a striking characteristic. Some are indeed conventionally found in artworks, such as paper, plaster powder and chalk, but it is the less likely materials for which she has become known. She uses household materials, like cling film or towels and beauty products, like nail varnish, petroleum jelly, glitter eye shadow, hairspray and moisturising cream. They are all substances that touch the body, and many of them are designed to satisfy the desire for improvement or enhancement. While the forms of Black’s sculptures have been related to Minimalism, they are imbued with a fragility of surface and are very legibly handmade, clearly the outcome of a performative process: there is nothing brute or hard-edged to be found here. Her works seem to be without edges, often dissolving

into the space around them or as one critic has it ‘Quite where the work begins or ends isn’t clear’ 4. They are always intensely and compellingly vulnerable, a characteristic that the writer Jonathan Griffin has most memorably identified: ‘Like a frosty lawn, or a giant soap bubble, the impulse to spoil them is somehow essential to our understanding of their vulnerable beauty.5 A brief note on gender. It is unlikely to pass unnoticed that all three of the artists in this exhibition are women: but does this bring anything to an appreciation of their work? Does the temptation to find something in that fact simply demonstrate what Karla Black has described as ‘the prevalent propensity in the art world to judge only women’s work as gendered’6. The implication is that any comparable exhibition featuring the work of exclusively male artists would not be subject to any comment about the relationship to gender and its bearing on our appreciation of the work. A particular palette of colours (including, of course, pink), textiles, softness and fragility are often construed as being somehow feminine – and yet are attributes to be found in the work of many male artists: think for example of the fleshy coloured sculptures of Franz West, the hand-printed, floral fabrics of Simon Starling, Miroslaw Balka’s use of salt and soap or Matthew Barney’s use of petroleum jelly. And what of the contradictory facts of, for example, Barclay’s intensely threatening, machined metal protrusions? Or how Black achieves scale and a sense of weight through her perilous substances? Can an artist who is a woman yet make use of pink without risking that the resultant work be construed as ‘feminine’?

The enduring resonance of Barbara Hepworth’s work has never been more pertinent, especially with the arrival of The Hepworth Wakefield, the first museum dedicated to a woman artist in the UK. She is a significant figure for all three of the artists here. Hepworth once said, in response to the question of what role her gender played in her work, that ‘art is anonymous’, denying a direct and meaningful connection, and yet Claire Barclay acknowledges that ‘I’m sure some aspects of my work are a reflection of myself’. It seems fitting to conclude as this text began, with the words of an artist. While the work here may be anti-language, our consideration of it can often most eloquently be framed by their words. ‘How much is all of that determined by the fact that I am a woman? Since I cannot tell, it will have to be my secret.’7 1 From 1:1 (2010), ‘a fragmentary time-coded transcription of parts of a long conversation between Becky Beasley and Michael Dean, April 2010, exhibited at Laura Bartlett Gallery, London 2 Claire Barclay interviewed by Rebecca Fortnum in Contemporary British Women Artists, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., London, 2007 3 Karla Black, It’s Proof That Counts, JRP Ringier, Zürich, 2010 4 Moira Jeffrey, ‘Art Review: Karla Black at Modern Art Oxford’, Scotland on Sunday, 4 October 2009 5 Jonathan Griffin, frieze, Issue 117, September 2008 6 Karla Black,‘A Very Important Time for Handbags’, Karla Black: mistakes made away from home, Mary Mary, Glasgow, 2008 7


Structure & Material, Longside Gallery, March 2011. Photo: Jonty Wilde

Structure & Material Claire Barclay

The work I make is influenced by a fascination with the functional and dysfunctional nature of objects and the psychology that surround them. Whether slickly manufactured, homespun or improvised, useful or redundant, I am interested in how we comprehend the form and meaning of objects by engaging a sophisticated primal understanding of the tactile world we inhabit. The dysfunctional, uncanny quality of the objects I make is difficult to articulate, but has something to do with the relationship between the endeavours and failures by human beings to make things beautiful, useful or meaningful. The sculptural objects I make or have fabricated, are designed to hover between the familiar and the foreign. They utilise a wide range of materials, and reference strongly the commonplace and functional stuff of the everyday, but are paired down, abstracted, manipulated and hybridized in order to make them ambiguous and curious. I do not use found objects in my work in order to avoid association with any specific reference, leaving it open to many possible imagined interpretations. I usually make installations which draw attention to the space they inhabit. Here, however, a selection of elements from a recent installation Flat Peach (2010) are shown alongside a sculpture Quick Slow (2010) and a series of screen prints.

Quick Slow is the result of an experimental collaboration with Dovecot Tapestry Weavers. I see this work as an attempt to look at tapestry from a sculptural perspective, exploring not only the pictorial aspect of this art form, but also emphasizing process and materiality. Claire Barclay, 2011

Biography Claire Barclay was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1968. Since graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1993, Barclay has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Solo exhibitions of her work include: Centre of Contemporary Art, Glasgow (1997), The Showroom Gallery, London (2000), Tate Britain, London (2004), Stephen Friedman Gallery, London (2005), Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (2007), Camden Arts Centre, London (2008), The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2009) and MUDAM Luxembourg (2009 -10) and in 2010 she created a new site specific work for the Bloomberg Commission at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. In 2007 she was awarded the Visual Artists Award by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Claire Barclay currently lives and works in Glasgow.

In reference to the installation Flat Peach, I have distorted the reflective nature of the window in this space with the use of a mirroring technique which results in the distortion and confusion of the views from either side of the glass. The viewer’s fragmented reflection merges with the landscape outside and the exhibition inside.

Claire Barclay Quick Slow 2010

Structure & Material Becky Beasley

These objects and photographs, as mute and minimal as they often appear, unexpectedly open onto literary worlds. Originating not only from fictional sources, but also in the objects and experiences of the everyday, the works are often imaginary abstractions, which nevertheless retain their original human dimensions. The earlier photographs presented here are concerned with the body, typically dens and hiding places, structures which have been simply constructed out of found materials. Whether rigid or flexible, these shroud-like wrappings each propose, with a clear economy of means, the provisional transformation of two-dimensional materials and surfaces into volumes. My beloved parents have provided me with the dimensions for a number of works presented here. The brass-hinged series of walnut woodworks, the curtain photographs and the shelves are all built around their body measurements. Brocken performs a minimal choreography for my father’s arms, the brass-hinges positioned to represent his own joints. The sequence begins with a full arm span, a gesture also known colloquially as measuring one’s own grave. This series anticipates – and is perhaps a kind of preparation for – the eventual absence of the ageing father, as the pieces are gradually removed. Inspired in part by an Austrian novel in which ideas of architecture, landscape, death and the body are united, the work seemed fitting for the vast walls and panoramic views at Longside Gallery. Becky Beasley, 2011

Biography Becky Beasley was born in Portsmouth, England in 1975. She graduated from the Royal College of Art, London in 2002 with a Masters degree in Fine Art (Photography). Since then she has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. Solo exhibitions include: Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam (2003), Millefiori Art Space, Athens (2004), UBU Gallery, Glasgow (2006), Office Baroque, Antwerp (2009), Laura Bartlett Gallery, London (2009) and Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London (2010). Beasley has also recently shown work in British Art Show 7 (2010-11). Becky Beasley is represented by Laura Bartlett Gallery, London and Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp. Beasley currently lives and works in St Leonards-on-Sea.

Becky Beasley Gloss II 2007

Structure & Material Karla Black

For me, the existence of art is proof of a human need to express physical instincts. Creativity is just necessary behaviour. Art – the refined and civilised evidence of this behaviour – is one example of what society will accept in return for granting permission to those who wish to behave like the animals they are. Art is a rationalisation of sorts for enacting one’s true self. However, because the approval of others is required, a person cannot sustain the experience of making in their life without also making this proof of it. The sculptures in this exhibition are made from a mixture of traditional art making materials like plaster powder, paper and chalk, along with more everyday substances such as toothpaste, nail varnish, ribbon and soap. These sculptures are part of an overall working practice that prioritises material experience over language as a way to learn about and understand the world.

Biography Karla Black was born in Alexandria, Scotland in 1972. She studied at Glasgow School of Art, where she gained a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art (1995-1999) followed by Masters degrees in Philosophy (1999-2000) and Fine Art (2002-2004). Previous solo exhibitions include: Mary Mary, Glasgow (2006 and 2009), Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (2008), Migros Museum, Zurich (2009), Modern Art Oxford (2009), Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2009), Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2010), Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nürnberg (2010) and the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice (June – November 2011). Karla Black currently lives and works in Glasgow.

Karla Black, 2011

Karla Black Unused To 2007. Photo: Jonty Wilde

Structure & Material

List of Works All measurements are in centimetres, height x width x depth. Not all works will be shown at all venues. Claire Barclay Flat Peach 2010 Sinamay, aluminium rod, machined aluminium, leather and stained wood Dimensions variable Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery Quick Slow 2010 Painted steel, tapestry (wool, silk, linen, made in collaboration with Dovecot Weavers, Edinburgh), printed fabric, machined brass 189 x 100 x 45 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2010 Soft Group 2010 Machined aluminium, screenprinted aluminium foil and stained wood Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery Untitled 2010 Diptych, unique screenprint on paper 58 x 41 Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery Untitled 2010 Diptych, unique screenprint on paper 58 x 41 Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery

Untitled 2010 Unique screenprint on paper 58 x 41 Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery Untitled 2010 Unique screenprint on paper 58 x 41 Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery Untitled 2011 Mirror paint on glass Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery Becky Beasley Hide 2004-2006 Gloss fibre-based gelatin silver print 40 x 32 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2010 Infirme 2004-2006 Black and white gloss fibre-based gelatin silver print 33 x 41 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2010 Covering (1) (Athens Archive) 2004-2007 Gloss fibre-based gelatin silver print 37. 3 x 37.3 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2010

Stool, Towel 2006 Gloss fibre-based gelatin silver print 31 x 31 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2010 Trap 2006 Matt fibre-based gelatin silver print, archival linen tape, eyelets 141 x 178 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2010 Gloss II 2007 Matt fibre-based gelatin silver print, archival linen tape, eyelets 168 x 200 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2010 Night Music 2007 Steel, HDF, acrylic glass, blackboard paint 125 x 147 x 59 Courtesy Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, Laura Bartlett Gallery and the artist Brocken (I) (During my conversation with Thomas Bernhard, he suddenly took a broken window handle out of his pocket and placed it quite carefully in front of him on a table with some newspapers.) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 2 x 196 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Brocken (II) (As it happened, the window handle was lying on a copy of the Viennese newspaper ‘Die Presse’. Bernhard was visibly displeased by this fact and decided to re-arrange the papers so that his window handle came to lie on the ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’.) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 47 x 149 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London Brocken (III) (All of this happened without him commenting on what he was doing. But once his broken window handle had found its proper place between the two of us, I could not help noticing a sly smile on his face.) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 47 x 102 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London Brocken (IV) (Bernhard now embarked on telling me about the history of this broken window handle and that he had been searching all over Vienna to find a duplicate.) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 80 x 69 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Brocken (V) (He stressed several times that he was only interested in an exact replica, identical replacement or absolutely the same thing.) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 80 x 36 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London Brocken (VI) (Without it he felt that he could never open his favourite window in his Viennese domicile again. The point was that only an ‘identical’ object could help him in this matter... But the real point was still to come.) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 80 x 36 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London Brocken (VII) (After some moments of silence Bernhard said that if he was really looking for the absolutely identical duplicate of this ‘broken’ window handle, then he could only hope for yet ‘another broken’ window handle. Consequently, he would never be able to open his favourite window handle again.) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 61 x 36 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Brocken (VIII) (In lieu of a conclusion, I should like to tell the rest of my Bernhard-anecdote. When he had left the Kaffeehaus, the waiter came and opened the window close to the table where I had had my encounter with Bernhard. He responded to my questioning look by saying: “It is rather stuffy, isn’t it? But you see, Herr Bernhard does not like open windows, for he is afraid of draughts.” – Rüdiger Görner) 2009 Black American walnut, brass, steel 61 x 2 x 8.4 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London Curtains (I) (There have been many occasions when I have recorded something and I have come into the studio at 10 o’clock on a Monday morning and really been in sixteen, not just two different minds, but sixteen different minds as to how it should go...) 2009 Seamed gelatin silver print, archival tape, green acrylic glazing 181 x 70.5 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Curtains (II) (...and this sense of option is really quite a marvellous luxury. It’s a luxury that you cannot permit yourself in the concert hall, you simply cannot, you would be dead if you walked on stage not being quite certain...) 2009 Seamed gelatin silver print, archival tape, green acrylic glazing 181 x 70.5 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London Curtains (III) (But in fact what happens is that by one o’clock in the afternoon, having given it three hours of work, I may not have come to any definitive conclusions, but I will finally have selected one of these options and made it my priority and out of this created a viable performance -Glenn Gould) 2009 Seamed gelatin silver print, archival tape, green acrylic glazing 181 x 70.5 Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London

Shelves for My Parents (A Shelf for My Mother, A Shelf for My Father) 2010 Oak veneer, MDF, steel 160 x 40 x 6.5 188.3 x 40.5 x 6.5 Courtesy Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London and the artist Trough Box 2010 White Oak, black foam, wood glue 130 x 18 x 18 132 x 20 x 20 Courtesy Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp Laura Bartlett Gallery, London and the artist Karla Black Unused To 2007 Sugar paper, chalk, polythene, toothpaste, nail varnish, hair gel, ribbon Dimensions variable Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London, purchased 2007 Persuader Face 2011 Finishing plaster, makeup, bath bombs 9.5 x 741 x 559 Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne What To Ask Of Others 2011 Polythene, plaster powder, paint, thread Dimensions variable Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne

Structure & Material, Longside Gallery, March 2011. Photo: Jonty Wilde

Structure & Material Claire Barclay Becky Beasley Karla Black Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park 31 March – 26 June 2011 Spike Island, Bristol 9 July – 4 September 2011 The New Art Gallery, Walsall 30 September – 24 December 2011 © Southbank Centre 2011 © images: the artists 2011 © text: Katrina Brown, Caroline Douglas and the artists 2011 The Arts Council Collection supports artists in the UK through the purchase and display of their work. Since it was founded in 1946, the Collection’s acquisitions policy has always been characterised by a spirit of risk taking combined with an informed appraisal of current practice. As a consequence, the Arts Council Collection is now the largest national loan collection of modern and contemporary British art in the world. For more information about the Arts Council Collection, please visit our website at

Structuer & Material  

Structure & Material, Claire Barclay, Becky Beasley, Karla Black. Curated by Caroline Douglas and Katrina Brown