Factually Real Illusions is an exhibition that takes its name from Guy Debord’s seminal work of 1967, The
Society of the Spectacle. In this text, Debord describes the spectacle as an inverted image of society in which
relations between commodities have supplanted relations between people. Human interaction has been
commoditised within society, an authentic social life of the people replaced by a mere reflection; a factually
real illusion. In Debord’s view, the history of the social life can be understood as a gradual decline from
‘being’ into ‘having’ and from ‘having’ into simply ‘appearing’. If in society, as Debord suggests, ‘passive
identification with the spectacle supplants genuine activity’, how one can break free from complicity and
offer an alternative?
Factually Real Illusions constructs an ambiguous situation. An exhibition masquerading as production line,
reading room as artwork, exhibition as site of production. In a subtle inversion of display conventions, the
curatorial processes are exposed, the exhibition as a site for cultural production and non-passive interaction
become visible. Artists who use the vehicles and vernacular of capitalism and who work within society’s
structural frameworks, and those who interrogate a reading of such transactions have been invited to
participate in Factually Real Illusions.
Participating artists: Claire Bushby, Martin Creed, Samantha Donnelly, Fischli and Weiss, Alistair
Frost, Ryan Gander, Noemie Goudal, Felicity Hammond, Callum Leo Hughs, Dina Kelberman, Agata
Lakinska, Andrew Mealor, Takashi Murakami, Richard Nicholson, Michelle Lee Proksell, Prem
Sahib, Carla Scott-Fullerton, Alex Taylor, Francis Thorburn, Li Weiyi, Holly White, Gary Woodley,
Laura Yuile, Erik Zepka and Toby Ziegler.
The traditional office space, the nucleus of the spectacle, acts as the central hub of the show from which all
activities will flow. The office allows you to interact with artworks directly and file your own publication.
From here you can explore the exhibition, and challenge the society of the spectacle.
IJMS, International Journey of Motorcycle Studies, is a series of international conferences which explores the subjects of motorcycling, where academics and non-academics share their ideas and knowledge. It took place during 3 days at Chelsea College of Art.
The conferences themes involve art, design, subcultures, gender, identity, fashion, sustainability, history and visual culture with the aim of attracting a mixture of delegates from different academic disciplines, as well as designers, industry experts and the wider motorcycling community.
Alongside the conference, a motorcycling exhibition was put together at the Triangle Space (Chelsea College of Art), including examples of designed objects, fashion, photography, film and motorcycle related artifact.
As part of the curatorial team, my participation was to assist the curator of the exhibition and organiser of the conferences, Caryn Simonson, to select the works to display, settle the spacial arrangement and decide the allocation of the works in the exhibition space.
Artist/designers on display: Harriet Williams, India Jackson, Toria Jaymes (Stay Outside), Tom Halyard-Cardwell, Kathryn Round, Talana Gamah, Eddie Wright, BOLT Motorcycles, Nicholas Coleman, Mark Dean.
This exhibition, in collaboration with the National Theatre Archive, highlights the seminal work of Jocelyn Herbert (1917-2003) who was among the most important and innovative theatre designers in the UK since the 1960s.
The exhibition focuses on the extensive relationship between Jocelyn Herbert and the theatre director and poet Tony Harrison (Leeds, 1937). This was a long-lasting collaboration, which started in the early 1980s and since then gave birth to six creative and innovative plays including among others The Oresteia (National Theatre, 1981), The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus (Delphi and National Theatre, 1988), Square Rounds (National Theatre, 1992) and the film Prometheus (1998).
Jocelyn Herbert and Tony Harrison showcases various materials from the Jocelyn Herbert Archive, including photographs, drawings, costumes, masks and written correspondence which were selected by the MA Curating and Collections students. With Jocelyn Herbert and Tony Harrison the students collaborated to join together what captured and inspired them in the study of this creative and productive relationship.
The duo found its strength and creativeness in a shared commitment to the text. Herbert believed that stage design should support the text without illustrating it but rather maintaining a “beautiful neutrality”, a term used by Harrison in his essay for Jocelyn Herbert – a Theatre Workbook.
Herbert would focus on enhancing Harrison’s text by keeping the design minimal and adding only the most necessary elements. For example, the simple design for Square Rounds is known as one of her most striking works. In being actively involved in the staging of each of the productions, Jocelyn was always dedicated to the realisation of their shared vision and, with her positive attitude and adventurous spirit, was able to adapt her work creatively to different conditions.
To see the publication of the exhibition, including the story behind each object and the research done by the curators click here.
Use/User/Used is an exhibition that explores the effects of 24/7 working culture and questions societal pressures to continuously perform. The show presents works from the Zabludowicz Collection alongside new live performance and dance commissions. Together these examine the exhaustive and depletive consequences of a networked culture that emphasizes increasing productivity and efficiency in both work and leisure time. Collectively, the works reflect on what it means to be exhausted as a physical body, as a mental state, and as a material resource.
“The one thing we share—exhaustion—makes us an inoperative community, an exhausted community, or a community of the exhausted.” Jan Verwoert.
Use/User/Used confronts a culture driven by consumption and the effects of rapid advances in mass-production and digital technology. With the decrease of manual labour and the rise of increasingly automated systems, endless connectivity, and planned obsolescence, we have created an economy based on systematic exhaustion in which success and fulfilment are mapped by upgrades and improved efficiency. As both the creators and inevitable participants in this society, humans have become incorporated into a system where external pressures to conform and perform negate the autonomy of the individual. Freedom of choice is compromised, leading to an alienation of labour, the fragmentation of self, and ultimately dehumanization. Encompassing a range of media including animation, installation, photography, sculpture, and video, many artworks in the show deploy humour and ironic detachment to address our contemporary working conditions.
Use/User/Used will also present the human body at work. For the duration of the exhibition, part of the mezzanine level will become a pop-up dance studio in which dance companies from across the UK have been invited to take up one-day residencies. In this space, during exhibition opening times, dancers will develop open-ended and experimental live responses to the exhibition environment.
Showing works from the Zabludowicz Collection are: Nick Darmstaedter, Nicolas Deshayes, Alex Dordoy, Matias Faldbakken, Lizzie Fitch, Yngve Holen, Josh Kline, Nikki S. Lee, Rachel Maclean, Kris Martin, Tobias Madison, Seth Price, Lucy Tomlins, Kirstine Roepstorff, Jack Strange, Artie Vierkant, and Gary Webb.
Newly commissioned live works will be presented by: Lea Collet and Marios Stamatis, Filippo Marzocchi, and Laura Yuile.
The exhibition was part of the Zabludowicz Collection’s annual Testing Ground for Art and Education, which supports the creative and professional development of emerging artists and curators. Use/User/Used is curated by students of the MA/MFA Curating courses at Goldsmiths University of London, Chelsea College of Art, and Sir John Cass College of Art at London Metropolitan University. Produced collaboratively over a period of three months, the resulting exhibition has been selected from over 3000 Collection works and brings together some of the most significant artists in contemporary art with new commissions by artists proposed by the emerging curators.
Combining a diverse cross section of curatorial perspectives from five countries across Europe the participating curators are: Luis Araujo, Mattia Giussani, Jose Iglesias, Lorna McDowell, Giovanni Rendina, Celine Roblin-Robson, Alexine Rodenhuis, Angela Sanchez del Campo, Duarte Sequeira, and Kirsty White.
Vertigo: The Next Level is an exhibition curated by the MA Curating and Collections students. Fostering the themes made apparent in the previous Chelsea landing show of paintings by Noel Forster, the works for this exhibition have emerged from the Chelsea Space collection and the college collection with Forster’s Untitled painting serving as prime inspiration.
The central concepts in this exhibition relate to movement, rotation, placement, and flow. Bringing together nine different artists, with vastly different mediums, these notions illustrate themselves through the materiality of each object individually, the literal depiction within the works and through the process by which they are made. As a whole, the show aims to illustrate these notions of moving pattern and fluidity with the visual journey of the viewer: shape and form lose their rigidity as the spiral effect is carried from Forster’s painting to Mark Titchner’s Artist’s Studio film, along to Fiona Banner’s spiralling text to a 12” vinyl record on the vertigo label and up to Terry Frost’s scarf, which waves in the air of each passer-by. The spiral effect continues with Henri Matisse’s Snail, the boldness of which is mirrored in the Josef Albers optical poster, and as the continuation of the rotoscopic imagery is brought through the room with the film of Marcel Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs, the dominance of performing shapes is realised in the fluidity of Alvar Aalto’s Savoy Vases.
Curators Angela Sanchez del Campo, Sophie Den Toom, Cara Newman, Xinyan Wang, Phoebe Brown, Ying Ying Yang.