I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Patrick Heide Contemporary Art and Bartha Contemporary are pleased to announce Should I Stay or Should I Go?, a group exhibition, which examines broader questions resulting from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, and in particular examine notions surrounding inclusion and exclusion, migration and memory, and more profoundly of home and belonging.Turning from an unthinkable scenario into a fast-approaching reality, individuals, groups, corporations, and even nations are facing historic change, uncertainty and upheaval. This exhibition attempts to address many of the issues caused by this unprecedented change by showcasing works that approach the subject in a principally metaphorical manner.
Indeed, across the social- and political spectrum and not least within the prominent European expat community, the exhibition’s title and its question have taken on an existential nature: Should I Stay or Should I Go? The exhibition does not comment on the political reality but rather attempts to reveal hidden layers and undercurrents that have led to the current state of affairs.
One overarching theme exposed in the exhibition is the realisation that our experience is growing from a desire to achieve equilibrium, to balance the action of opposing and contradicting forces. This central theme informs Johannes von Stumm’s (b. 1959, Germany) sculptural oeuvre in particular, but equally resonates with the work of many artists in this exhibition. Another recurring theme is identity, not as a single entity with clearly defined boundaries, but rather as a continuing response to external forces arising from a multitude of often conflicting issues, is beautifully manifested in James Scott Brooks’ (b. 1974, UK) 'Birthplace' series.
In total, the exhibition brings together fifteen artists from diverse backgrounds, who work in a wide range of media. The most literal approach to the subject must be Michal Iwanowski’s (b. 1977, Poland) project Go Home, Polish—derived from a sentence the artist took literally and turned into an art-work as he gathered experiences and images on his journey, walking from Bristol to his native Poland. David Connearn’s (b. 1952, UK) work Calais Flags or Danica Phelps’ (b. 1971, USA) Gratitude Project were both triggered by images of the refugee crisis, to which both found unique responses. Sophie Bouvier Ausländer (b. 1970, Switzerland) and Eric Cruikshank (b. 1975, UK) take maps and places as their point of departure, retracing the terrain by reworking geographical images. Stefana McClure (b. 1959, Northern Ireland) and Mike Meiré (b. 1964, Germany) both took print media as their starting-point, violating or erasing its very content and in turn commenting on the current socio-political landscape. Presumably, the most poignant work in the exhibition, Susan Stockwell’s (b. 1962, UK) Jerusalem-Br-Exit visualises a feeling of frustration and deflation; presenting a UK map coming loose at its Southern border, that faces the European Union.
Should I Stay or Should I Go? is the first collaborative exhibition project between Bartha Contemporary and Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, whose respective programs and exhibitions are rarely politically motivated, yet both felt that the current debate cannot be left uncommented, even if in a rather abstracted manner.
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