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Selections from The Serving Library: PORTRAIT OF GENESIS BREYER P-ORRIDGE 18 October 2018

Alex Klein, photographic print, 2009, 60 x 52 cm

So we were already cutting up our mutual identities and, as we did that, we started to think about why it was so appealing to us. And one of the things that we decided was that we were both at war with binary culture, the idea of male and female, black and white, Christian/Muslim, good/bad — all these different either/ors that you mentioned, which are embedded in most cultures. Again, as Burroughs would say, “Look for the vested interest …”. To control people, to make people behave as stereotypes in order for things to be simple and easy to control. Anarchy and confusion are not necessarily friendly towards control! So, we began to look at that aspect of it. Why be male or female?

(“Vested Interest: Mark Beasley in conversation with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge,” Dot Dot Dot #16, 2008 / Cover of Dot Dot Dot #17, 2009)

http://www.servinglibrary.org/collection/portrait-of-genesis-breyer-p-orridge

Selections from the Serving Library: GERMAN CAR LICENSE PLATE WITH THE TYPEFACE FALSCHUNGSERSCHWERENDE SCHRIFT 18 October 2018

Born awkwardly between eras — drawn by hand in order to be better read by machines — the fälschungserschwerende Schrift bears the marks of both 19th-century guild-enshrined handcraft and 20th-century anonymous automation. And like any technology, it is bound by the political determinants of its design: while its original “tamper-proof ” premise may have proved a Macguffin, these weird-looking letters are an early product of our contemporary surveillance state. What reads to us as a clumsy lack of formal continuity is exactly what makes it legible to a computer. It is an alphabet whose defining characteristic is precisely that it has no defining characteristic, other than having no defining characteristic.

(“Fälschungserschwerende Schrift,” Benjamin Tiven, Bulletins of The Serving Library #3, 2012)

http://www.servinglibrary.org/collection/german-car-license-plate-with-the-typeface-flschungserschwerende-schrift

Selections from The Serving Library: PORTRAIT OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN / “TRYING TO FIND FLAWS, IF ANY, IN AN ENLARGEMENT OF A SUPERDOLLAR” 17 October 2018

Ahead of our next exhibition, The Serving Library v David Osbaldeston, we’ll be highlighting just a few of the 100+ framed objects that make up The Serving Library (TSL) collection, along with the accompanying text from TSL’s website.

First up »

PORTRAIT OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN / “TRYING TO FIND FLAWS, IF ANY, IN AN ENLARGEMENT OF A SUPERDOLLAR”

Photograph of original etching, c. 1770 / Tony Law, photograph for The New York Times, July 23 2006, 48 x 69.5 cm

January 17, 2006. As it turns out, today is Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birthday. Writer, typographer, printer-publisher-politician, inventor, statesman, gentleman, scientist, lover, linguist, librarian and the first Postmaster General of the United States, Franklin was the consummate networker — distributing his ideas far and wide through a dizzying range of practices.

(“Post-Master,” David Reinfurt, Dot Dot Dot #12, 2006)

For over a decade police forces across the world have been hunting a criminal cartel with a licence to print money. They’ve been distributing the highest quality counterfeit notes ever produced. The forgeries are so realistic that even the experts can’t tell the difference. They’re known as superdollars.

(“Superdollars,” David Reinfurt, Dot Dot Dot #14, 2007)

http://www.servinglibrary.org/collection/portrait-of-benjamin-franklin

The exhibition will feature the collection its entirety, with items as diverse as record sleeves, watercolours, woodcuts, polaroids, drawings, screen-prints, airbrush paintings, a car number plate, and a Ouija board. Together, these varied objects decorate the walls of the library to serve as a toolbox for teaching.

The Accumulation of Things featured by i-D 1 October 2018

Check out i-D‘s recommendation of the best things to watch, see and do this week (1 Ocotber, 2018)… including our current exhibition, The Accumulation of Things!

The Accumulation of Things / House of Wisdom: Preview in Photos 28 September 2018

Thanks to everyone who came along to yesterday’s double preview event… what a great way to launch our autumn season of exhibitions!

Special thanks to all of the curators and artists involved in putting together both exhibitions –


Bonington Vitrines #8: House of Wisdom
(left-right) Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergül (Istanbul Queer Art Collective), Dr Cüneyt Çakırlar, and Mine Kaplangı (Collective Çukurcuma)


The Accumulation of Things
(left-right) curator Adam Murray, Julie Greve, Joe Bloom, Evie O’Connor, Alicia Jalloul, Max Prus, Tom Godfrey.

Both exhibitions are now open until Saturday 27 October. For more information, visit the exhibition pages.

The Accumulation of Things featured by 10 Magazine 27 September 2018

Thanks to 10 Magazine for featuring The Accumulation of Things as their 10’s To See.

The feature includes a preview of the exhibition, plus interviews with three of the exhibiting artists »

Joy Labinjo » Evie O’Connor and Julie Greve.

Read the article here.

The Accumulation of Things featured on Dazed & Confused 24 September 2018

Our September/October exhibition has been included in the Dazed & Confused list of “Art shows to leave the house for this month”.

Check out the full feature here, which also includes exhibitions at Tate Modern, Barbican, and Somerset House.

In Conversation with Adam Murray 3 September 2018

Bonington Gallery curator Tom Godfrey recently caught up with Adam Murray, curator of our September – October exhibition, The Accumulation of Things. Read on to find out more about Adam’s approach to curating and his interest in representations of everyday life – particularly in the north of England – as well as his background in photography and experience as an educator.


Preston is my Paris zine.

 

Tom Godfrey: The most recent exhibition that you (co-)curated was North: Fashioning Identity that I saw at both the Open Eye Gallery and Somerset House locations. The exhibition took quite a pragmatic and museological approach to presenting a history of fashion (with associated disciplines) connected to a geographical context. The exhibition at Bonington appears to be much looser in concept and suggests a more intuitive approach to putting together an exhibition. I wondered if you could expand a little on these two approaches and what your initial motivations were behind the formation of The Accumulation of Things.

Adam Murray: I agree, the two approaches to the exhibitions, and indeed the exhibitions themselves, are quite different in some ways.  However, they are both very much linked by subjects that I have been interested in for many years and I do think that there are similarities, particularly in the way the artists deal with their notion of the familiar.

Since I moved to Preston for university in 2001, the north west of England has been my familiar and the years spent there have been very influential on the work that I have made in the past, for example, Preston is my Paris.  This was an ongoing project produced predominantly with Robert Parkinson that dealt with our everyday life in Preston.  This then motivated a strong interest in how everyday life and personal experiences inform creative work, as well as a strong interest in representation and identity of the north of England.  The latter of which became manifest with the North: Fashioning Identity exhibition that you mention.


Installation view from the exhibition ‘North: Fashioning Identity’, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, 2017.

 

With this exhibition at Bonington, I wanted to move away from being so geographically specific and but still engage with work that was clearly about the circumstance, experiences and personal histories of the artists.  In my work as a lecturer I also work with and encounter a lot of work by early career practitioners, so I saw the invitation from Bonington as a fantastic opportunity to showcase this.  The sourcing of the work has been an intuitive process yes.  I encountered all of in the last couple of years at either degree shows, in tutorials or through recommendations by friends.  It felt like it came together very naturally.

TG: As evidenced throughout your projects there is a focus and celebration of the so-called ‘regions’ and the practices and associated histories that dwell within them. I wondered whether you could talk about this further, what is it about these geographies that motivates you and the others you work with?

 AM: Primarily it is to do with my own experiences and places I have lived.  I grew up in Shepshed, a small town not too far from Nottingham, then moved to Preston for university and spent ten years living there.  Although I now live in Manchester and partly work in London, I am still active in exploring regional towns and cities.  As you mention, this has been a feature of previous projects and exhibitions, I think because I have spent the majority of my life outside of major cities.  This has developed my awareness that these places matter.  For me, it is not about creating a hierarchy, but it is about encouraging the same exploration of smaller places in a similar way to large urban centres.

As the major ‘creative cities’ are given so much coverage, it is often, not always, but often the work by people from places other than recognised centres, that can offer an alternative and therefore more innovative view on things.  I think that is reflected in most of the work in the exhibition.  It is also why I am excited to collaborate with Bonington, it is important for these spaces to exist outside of London.


From ‘Preston Bus Station’ issue of Preston is my Paris, 2010.

 

TG: The group exhibitions that interest me always present practices that extend beyond the objects in a room, so the individual contexts, networks and histories represented by the artists protract, conflate and interrupt what might be physically on show. I wondered if you could talk a bit further about how you have brought together this set of practices and what might be represented by the exhibition that we might not see physically in the gallery. The premise that you present at first glance is quite simple, but the array and depth to the practices represented by the exhibition reveals to me something much more complex and nuanced.

 AM: All of the artists in the exhibition have produced work whilst being based in Britain for the last few years, so I definitely think that there are a number of narratives and reflections on recent general experiences.  However, it was also important for me to work with artists from different backgrounds so that their own personal approach offers a variety of interpretation.

I always try to present work in quite a simple way, without being over theoretical with text etc.  It is important for me to create a space that doesn’t feel intimidating and respect that an audience will be able to engage with the work without the need for extensive direction from a curator.


Installation view from the exhibition ‘North: Fashioning Identity’, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, 2017.

 

TG: I closely consider Bonington Gallery’s context of being an ‘art school’ gallery when programming and identifying the practices we present. I’m always drawn to people who have a lot of cross-over in their practices, and have done different things and occupied different contexts. I wondered if you could talk about your background, and the different projects you’ve worked on over recent years, and paint a picture of your own relationship to working with/across different artforms.

AM: My background is mainly rooted in photography.  I studied photography at university in Preston and as mentioned before, the first major project after this was Preston is my Paris.

Since I was a teenager though I’ve also had a strong interest in fashion photography.  This has manifest in different ways but most recently in North: Fashioning Identity which I co-curated with Lou Stoppard.  The exhibition included a range of different media and art forms all linked to one subject, the influence of the North of England on Fashion.

I have also worked in Higher Education for 15 years.  To begin with it was on the photography course at University of Central Lancashire, then moved on to Fashion Communication at Liverpool John Moores.  Now I’m working on Fashion Art Direction at Manchester School of Art and pathway leader for MA Fashion Image at Central Saint Martins.  I find it a real privilege to be working with new creative talent, learning what they are about, what they want to communicate and then responding to that.  It also appealed to me that Bonington is part of a university.

The main two things that I think link all of this is collaboration and exploring the relationship between different practices.  My work simply wouldn’t exist without this and I think putting exhibitions together is the ideal way for me to engage with an audience.


From ‘You could be in London, You could be in Vegas, But you’re in Brierfield’ issue of Preston is my Paris, 2010.

 

The Accumulation of Things opens with a preview on Thursday 27 September, alongside Bonington Vitrines #8: House of Wisdom. RSVP via email to confirm your attendance.

All images courtesy of Adam Murray.

Elijah - The Definition of Grime (To Me): In Photos 16 May 2018

Last night we welcomed DJ, promoter and Butterz cofounder, Elijah for an engaging lecture and Q&A; tracing his journey into and through different areas of the music industry, exploring the importance of questioning everything, and what happens when “what if?” is turned into “why not?”…

Thanks to writer, critic (and grime fan) Jonathan P Watts for hosting, and to Ashley Holmes, whose 2017 film Everybody’s Hustling set the scene for the evening. It was great to welcome a lot of new faces to the gallery – so big thanks to everyone who joined us, too!

Video Days Spotlight: Elijah 11 May 2018

Bringing the Video Days event programme to a close, we’re excited to welcome Elijah for a talk and Q&A on Tuesday 15 May, from 6.30 pm – 8.30 pm.

Elijah is a DJ and promoter, and along with Skilliam, co-founder of the grime record label Butterz. In these various roles Elijah has travelled the world and shared stages with some of grime’s biggest names. For six years he hosted his own grime show on Rinse FM. Over the past year Elijah has been Associate Artistic Director at Lighthouse Arts, Brighton, an arts and culture agency producing, supporting and presenting new art, film, music, design and games. Supported by Arts Council England, this initiative promotes diversity in the arts, of which, in the UK, only a small percent of artistic directors are black and minority ethnic.

In 2014, grime began to dominate popular music. In 2015, the Tottenham-based MC Skepta beat both David Bowie and Radiohead to the Mercury Prize. When Stormzy re-recorded the single “Shut Up”, originally a viral YouTube video, it entered the 2015 Christmas UK Singles Chart at number eighteen. Since then, grime has soundtracked the so-called ‘youthquake’ that, among other things, has been credited with blocking Theresa May and the Conservatives’ hoped-for landslide in last year’s general election. Grime is the music of a generation.

As well as plotting his own experience of working in grime, by which a history of grime will emerge, Elijah’s talk will address the interrelations between visual art and music culture. He will discuss the importance of inquisitiveness and creativity in work and explore how applying organisational skills learnt in the arts and culture sector could be used in music programming, and vice versa.

Elijah’s lecture will be followed by a Q+A, hosted by Jonathan P. Watts.

Ashley Holmes’ film Everybody’s Hustling will be played on loop all day on Tuesday 15 May, from 10 am to 5 pm, then played once at the start of this event.

» Join the Facebook event page.

» Find out more about Video Days Week Five screenings.

Images: courtesy of Elijah / Butterz

Featured news
50 Years of Curating and Creating Contemporary Art 12 August 2019

Bonington Gallery has been a significant part of the cultural landscape of Nottingham for half a century. Its diverse and ambitious artistic programme has consistently presented the forefront of creative practice and through this has gained an national reputation.

The gallery has showcased the very best in visual and performing arts from across the world – so join us, as we plan to make the next 50 years just as memorable.

Read more in our latest blog post.

The Community: Live in Nottingham featured on Notts TV 25 March 2019

Last week, Notts TV’s Charlotte Swindells popped down to the gallery to check out our latest exhibition, catching up with curator Tom Godfrey to find out more about the project.

Watch the video at the link below (segment starts at 27:40):

https://nottstv.com/programme/ey-up-notts-tuesday-19th-march/

Chloé Maratta - ARTnews feature 14 January 2019

This April we’re excited to be presenting a two person exhibition between artist, musician and designer Chloé Maratta and artist & musician Joanne Robertson. The exhibition will also involve artefacts from NTU’s School of Art & Design’s high-street fashion archive, FashionMap. Chloé features in a recent ARTnews article that profiles several of the ‘leading lights’ within LA’s art/fashion/music crossover scene:

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