Exhibition Preview, Friday 9 March from 7-9pm
Performance by Sophie Seita ‘Making Light: In the Temple of Formidable Hypotheses’, at 7:30pm (duration 15mins)
“Truth” is of no small importance to human affairs, yet it has been and remains a contested category. Its status shifts radically through time, place, religion, discipline— and today, social platform. Truth can be definite and mercurial, divine and political. As secularism, cosmopolitanism and positivism enter a moment of crisis, and as information seems to be ever more available – while also subject to algorithmic modification – anxieties about the status of truth and the transparency of information are on the rise.
“Post-truth” was the 2016 Oxford English Dictionary word of the year, denoting “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The crisis in objectivity that this new word unveils has been accompanied by an unprecedented proliferation of homemade images that excel the art of “remixology”, the “practice of recombining preexistent content”. These images result in often-fake contents that circulate both virally and ephemerally online. The “post-truth phenomenon”, however, is not only fuelled by low-tech and intimate creativity, but also by technologically sophisticated and politically driven techniques of image creation, alteration and destruction. These sustain electoral agendas, responses to catastrophe and affective relationships to powerholders.
While fake news has a long history, its contemporary currency has been enhanced by the ways in which new biopolitical regimes, from genetic testing to big data, confront more entrenched epistemes. These regimes are potentially capable of bypassing old forms of expertise and knowledge production. The ethical and aesthetic significance of this shift in the status of “truth” is pending critical debate, as is art’s response to the current wave of iconographic politicization, conspiratorial fears, and data skepticism. Reality Machines addresses this “knowledge controversy” while intersecting it with the work of artists from a multiplicity of countries working as activists, social critics, and human rights advocates. Curated by Mara Polgovsky Ezcurrain.
The exhibition extends over all floors of the building.
The third pandemic of plague (in its bubonic and pneumonic clinical forms) struck the globe with devastating results between 1894 and 1959. It was the first time that plague would reach and establish itself in all inhabited continents. It was also the first time that any epidemic would be photographed. As plague spread from harbour to harbour, and amongst cities, towns and villages, so did photographs of the pandemic through reproductions in the daily and illustrated press. The exhibition Visions of Plague showcases for the first time this founding moment in epidemic photography. Showing photographs collected and digitized from across the world by the ERC-funded project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic, the exhibition takes us from the frozen steppes of Manchuria to San Francisco, Brazil, India and Madagascar, where epidemics of plague challenged colonial and national forms of government, reshaped the urban environment and generated new ways of understanding infectious diseases.
Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic is an ERC project held at the University of St Andrews’ Social Anthropology Department and the University of Cambridge’s CRASSH, and led by medical anthropologist Dr Christos Lynteris. The project and the exhibition is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant (under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme/ERC grant agreement no 336564).
The exhibition Visions of Plague: Photographs of the Third Plague Pandemic was realised with the cooperation of the Wellcome Library, the San Francisco Public Library, the Institute of Experimental Medicine, the Hong Kong University Library Special Collections, the Centre for South Asian Studies (Cambridge), the Joseph Needham Research Institute, the New York Academy of Medicine Library, and the Institut Pasteur Archives.
EXHIBITION RECEPTION & ARTIST TALKS, 30 NOVEMBER 2017, 5.30-8PM
There will always be a question over the photographic image as to whether it can ever truly capture reality. ‘Artificial Things’ explores this idea further, bringing together photographic artists who use the medium to explore and merge the boundaries of the fake, the real, and the in-between.
Artist talks start at 6PM
The More That is Taken Away – Ben Altman
Liquid Images – Clara Turchi
This exhibition has been organised and curated in collaboration with Shutter Hub.
Thursday 19 October 2017, 5 – 8PM
Rooms SG1&2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT
Help artist Robert Good celebrate the launch of A New Dictionary of Art – a new approach to an old problem.
Robert will be joined by philosopher Professor Derek Matravers, artist John Clark and designer Jane Glennie for a lively and informative discussion about his project to collate over 3000 definitions of Art from the Internet. Includes a short reading, book signing, and refreshments.
A New Dictionary of Art – One word: 3,000 definitions.
“Both splendid and splendidly bonkers” – Professor Derek Matravers, philosopher
The definition of ‘Art’ has exercised philosophers, artists, and art-lovers for centuries, yet we are no nearer a consensus of what in fact it is. The one term not found in most dictionaries of art is the term ‘Art’ itself.
A New Dictionary of Art takes a refreshingly alternative approach, allowing you to take your pick from over 3,000 definitions compiled from the internet via chat-rooms and discussion forums as well as from more established authorities, artists and institutions. Passions run high as formal sits alongside informal, jocular alongside vulgar: all are left to fight it out on the page.
Each entry is carefully alphabetised and has been valiantly edited and annotated for accuracy and completeness to the point of absurdity. By retaining the format and formality of a dictionary in this way, A New Dictionary of Art acknowledges with humour our continuing desire for absolute knowledge and certainty.
“Weirdly but powerfully provocative… one of the most useful things I’ve read in a while” – John Clark, painter
Robert Good is an artist based in Cambridge UK and Masters graduate from Cambridge School of Art, ARU
Derek Matravers is a philosopher of aesthetics at the Open University and a former Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge.
John Clark is a painter and maker based in Cambridge UK.
Jane Glennie is an artist and typographer and founder of Peculiarity Press.
Felipe Ehrenberg, Latin American Artists and the Beau Geste Press
10 October – 14 November 2016
In Association with Cambridge University Library and Trinity College
Curator: Erica Segre
The Mexican mixed media, conceptual and performance artist Felipe Ehrenberg and Martha Hellion co-founded the Beau Geste Press collective in Devon (1970-1976) with English artist and art historian David Mayor. It became one of the most influential avant-garde independent presses of the post-war period and is regarded by art historians and contemporary artists as one of the most significant transnational collaborative projects of the 1970s.
This exhibition showcases a collection of these provocative and original limited editions often made using unconventional materials and ‘arte povera’ techniques of production and distribution in an unusual variety of small-scale formats. It explores the legacy of indiscipline of the BGP’s uniquely communal and discrepant artefacts.
Lala Meredith-Vula is showing a series of photographs that mark her personal journey of rediscovering her roots and her own identity during the past 25years, including the aftermath of war in Bosnia and Kosovo. Lala will also feature works from the blood feud reconciliation movement in Kosova from 1990 – 1991 and the incredible time in the Kosovar history when people decided to bring an end to blood feuds and to stop the killing which lasted for over a hundred years and sometimes until all men of the two involved families were killed. The blood feuds were often influenced by the fifteenth-century canon of Lek Dukagjini, a set of traditional Albanian laws.
Lala Meredith-Vula was born in Sarajevo in 1966, to an Albanian father and English mother, and came to Britain in the 1970s. She studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ College, London University (1985/88) and was awarded a Yugoslav scholarship at Pristina University, Kosova (1988/90). Her first show was in Damien Hirst’s landmark exhibition “Freeze”, London (1988) that is famous for launching the YBA Young British Artists. She has exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1999 and 2007) representing Albania, as well as nationally and internationally with many solo shows including at the Photographers’ Gallery London, in Germany, Italy, Albania, and in numerous group shows in the UK, USA, and China.
11 APRIL – 1 JULY 2016
PRIVATE VIEW THURSDAY 14 APRIL 2016, 6.00 – 8.00PM
Sandra Scott is a Barbadian-born professional artist and teacher who has lived and worked in Cambridge for the past 24 years. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Barbadian National Cultural Foundation NIFCA award. In 1984 she won the prestigious Organisation of America States fellowship to study Art Education at the Edna Manley School of Art, then known as the Jamaica School of Art. Her early work used mixed media and sculpture and was strongly influenced by African art. Her recent works are further inspired by contemporary artists such as Klimt and Hundertwasser.
Scott’s current work combines her own hand dyed fabrics, batiks and prints, which form the basis for her machined stitched pieces. Keen to experiment with new ideas and materials, she has included her own printed papers and embossed foils with some of her fabric pieces. Drawn to the aged face and body, Scott is fascinated by what constitutes ideal beauty in different societies. This theme has been a prominent feature in her work, resulting in highly personal and symbolic expressions, and designed to reveal and bring these issues to the viewers’ attention.
11 APRIL – 1 JULY 2016
PRIVATE VIEW THURSDAY 14 APRIL 2016, 6.00 – 8.00PM
Beata Zygarlowska’s photographic works explore senses of space created by, and around the human body. Utilising her background in architecture, Beata approaches the scale of the built environment in a free and abstract way. In combining it with the photographic technique of double exposure, she creates images which construct new relationships between an object and its surroundings. Poetic ideas are framed in space and time; the sensuous skin of a woman set against the cold skin of a modernist building, a male figure as the bedrock of a skyscraper or a spinning female dancer in a void. Unfamiliar representations of bodies in space transform our reality into abstract impressions, questioning our experience of what we know, or what we think we know.
Born in Warsaw, Beata studied in Copenhagen at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture and at The University of Cambridge. She lives and works in Cambridge and London. For her photographic work, combining architecture and light, she has received several grants and scholarships, among others from the Danish Agency for Culture, the Anglo-Danish Society, the Sophus Fonden by Louis Poulsen Lighting (for her studies on V. Hammershøi), and the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation.
Room 204, Centre of Latin American Studies
Alison Richard Building
24 November – 31 March 2016
This exhibition can be visited by appointment only, please contact Julie Coimbra (email@example.com) if you wish to see it.
This installation brings together two poetic, political, and print projects resulting from the recent re-inauguration of La Casa del Hijo del Ahuizote in Mexico City. Today transformed into an exhibition space for the archive of anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón and a print workshop, La Casa del Hijo del Ahuizote was once the editorial office of an iconic satirical magazine from late nineteenth-century Mexico, known for its stand against the Porfirio Díaz dictatorship (1884-1911). Lending continuity to the critical praxis of this much-persecuted publication (whose contributors were often imprisoned and even murdered), today’s La Casa del Hijo del Ahuizote has joined the local and international movement of solidarity with the 43 disappeared students from the teacher-training school “Raúl Isidro Burgos” in Iguala, Guerrero. The photographs on display here have been taken by five photojournalists (Italians Giulia Iacolutti and Valentino Bellini, Mexicans Mauricio Palos and Heriberto Paredes, and Canadian Brett Gundlock) who have closely followed the aftermath of the “Iguala events”. To mark a year after the disappearance of the students, these pictures were reproduced, and then exhibited horizontally for people to take copies, at La Casa del Hijo del Ahuizote using a modern version of the mimeograph, called the Risograph, that allows cheap mass-scale image reproduction. Alongside these photographs, the poetic and textual works exhibited here have resulted from the decontextualized quotation of some of the writings of the original founders of the magazine El Hijo de Ahuizote. In light of the human rights situation in contemporary Mexico, these texts are likely to have deeply unsettling resonances for today’s publics.
8 FEBRUARY – 1 APRIL 2016
ALL FLOORS OF THE ARB
PRIVATE VIEW 5 FEBRUARY 2016, 6.00 – 8.00 PM
‘Fulcrum’ presents the work of three painters from Cambridge. Their work ranges from the abstract to the figurative, from the gesture to the construct. Together they balance on the tipping point between representation and abstraction. Here we find more or less painterly ways of working, experiments in pictorial possibility that test the image against the abstract potential of the material and history of paint. In bringing the work together in one show we hope to provide an opportunity for viewers to explore this territory with us.