A recent review of Popova/Rodchenko at Tate Modern by Adrian Searle suggested that Constructivism is re-asserting itself, perhaps as another trope, which, like all aspects of modernism, represents territory ripe for exploration by a younger group of Artists, in his words as… “A rite of passage”. It seems true when looking at Biennials and art fairs, that on an intuitive level at least, there is a steady, growing recuperation of territory that had either seemed off limits or not worth understanding. Katja Strunz, Germaine Kruip and Eva Berendes are obvious examples of a visual affinity with Construction and Dada, artists like Gareth Jones and Peter Peri represent a more self-conscious and occasional borrowing.
Andrew Bick will discuss his current exhibition and related ideas surrounding his research project in to British Construction and Systems Art of the 1960’s and ’70’s with Jon Wood, Research Coordinator at the Henry Moore Institute and Jeffrey Steele, artist and founder member of the Systems Group. Bick has been in conversation with both since he started work on a research fellowship at the Henry Moore Institute in late 2007 and this evening will form a public part of an ongoing series of conversations and exchanges he has initiated that are concerned with opening dialogue between contemporary practice and areas of historic practice in the UK which have been overlooked and undervalued.
Bick is currently working on projects emerging from a 2008 Research Fellowship at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds called Eccentric Construction. This project will lead to a curated exhibition Construction and Its Shadow exploring the relationship between the important but largely neglected British Construction Artists of the 1950´s and 1960´s and contemporary practise for Leeds City Art Gallery in 2010.
Jeffrey Steele has exhibited widely in mainland Europe since the 1960´s and made a key contribution to Alan Fowler’s A Rational Aesthetic, the Systems Group and Associated Artists exhibited at Southampton City Art Gallery in 2008. In a statement in the Systeemi-System exhibition catalogue in 1969 he writes;
A work of the kind I am advocating, while inviting surrender to the sensations it creates, rewards analysis of its visual syntax and semantics.
Jon Wood is an Art Historian who specializes in twentieth-century and contemporary sculpture, with a particular interest in the changing status and function of the artists studio from the nineteenth century to the present, histories of contemporary practice and the artist interview. Co-editor of the Modern Sculpture Reader (2007), he works at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds where he coordinates the research programme and curates exhibitions. Wood has published on the work of Mary Martin, Stephen Gilbert and Anthony Hill and has been helping develop the constructivist collections at Leeds Art Gallery, which now includes work by Gillian Wise, Anthony Hill, Peter Lowe and others.