The Q&A with Paul Coldwell held in Studio 3 Gallery is now available online at:
Many thanks to Heather Green and Ben Thompson for their work on this film.
The Q&A with Paul Coldwell held in Studio 3 Gallery is now available online at:
Many thanks to Heather Green and Ben Thompson for their work on this film.
Kent Print Collection 5th Exhibition
28 May – 14 June 2013
Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
What is a celebrity? A ‘human pseudo-event’ overshadowing genuine heroes? ‘The spectacular representation of a living human being’ in a society defined by spectacle where social relations are mediated by images? A readily available ‘dream that money can buy’ in the photographic brothel? Or is a celebrity a ‘mythical concept’ where myth is understood to be a system of communication, where the material of the message has already been worked on to enhance its suitability for communication, and where the mythical concept’s fundamental property is to be appropriated?
[From the catalogue essay by Ben Thomas]
Artists exhibited: Banksy; Sir Peter Blake; Blek le Rat; Jason Brooks; D*Face; John Dove and Molly White; Gary Hume; GSG; Alan Kitching; Gerald Laing; Pure Evil; Marc Quinn; John Stezaker; Joe Tilson; Gavin Turk; Stella Vine; Andy Warhol; Jonathan Yeo; Russell Young
Studio 3 Gallery will be open on Saturday 18 May from 9am to 2pm to provide one last opportunity to see Resilience & Light: Contemporary Palestinian Art.
Visitor comments so far include:
Amazing! Absolutely Amazing!
A wonderful selection of art!!
Arresting and eclectic. I love some of the Laila Shawa, and the Zurob is very clever. Well done!
Best exhibition for some time. Vibrant colour trapped in dark times.
Wonderful – a relevant selection of art. Very inspiring.
Wonderfully conceived and executed.
Inspirational and thought-provoking.
Challenging and inspiring.
Interesting and original! The piece ‘The Arab Spring is not finished yet’ is well thought out and cleverly executed!
Vibrant and captivating. Brilliant exhibition!
Inspiring, heartbreaking and hopeful.
A brilliant showcase of Palestinian artists and their work…
Another very moving exhibition. Thank you.
Thank you! Truly amazing and powerful work.
This is the best exhibition here so far. It feels really current and is strongly inspired.
Inspired and inspiring!
Running from 24 May – 14 June 2013, Two-Faced Fame: Celebrity in Print 1962-2013, a new exhibition held at the University of Kent’s Studio 3 gallery on the Canterbury campus, brings together a diverse range of prints by well-known artists, including Sir Peter Blake, Jason Brooks, Banksy, Gerald Laing, Marc Quinn, John Stezaker, Joe Tilson, Gavin Turk, Stella Vine and Jonathan Yeo.
The exhibition focuses on the ways in which artists over the last 50 years have represented fame and how the various approaches they have taken portray the phenomenon of celebrity mass-culture. The exhibition will also highlight the progression from Pop Art, to postmodern practice and the work of street artists.
From Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe silkscreen prints to John Stezaker’s spliced celebrity photo-portraits, and Banksy’s appropriated honesty, attitudes towards fame have varied tremendously over the last 50 years. The exhibition will provide a visual narrative of how and why artists have chosen to present recognizable figures within their work.
Luke Carver, curator and co-author of Two Faced Fame, commented: “We wanted a subject that would warrant serious exploration but which would also be accessible to everyone and include art that would cater for all tastes. Our aim is to hold an exhibition that explores the different attitudes artists have had towards their subjects, some of which have been critical, some complicit, and some which obscure the boundaries between these two camps. Ultimately, we want to invite a reflection on how and why artistic representations of fame and celebrity have been so varied.”
Ben Thomas, Curator of Studio 3 Gallery, said: “Once again Kent students are rising to the challenge of coming up with an original exhibition concept and meeting professional standards of curating. I am very grateful to all those who have supported the students putting on Two-Faced Fame without whom this exhibition could not have taken place.”
The exhibition will be the fifth organised under the auspices of The Kent Print Collection and the University of Kent. Established in 2005, the award-winning curating programme aims to provide undergraduate students with the unique opportunity to collect art on behalf of the School of Arts, and to put on museum-standard exhibitions drawing on this resource.
Two-Faced Fame will be open to the public from 27th May until 14th June 2013 at the University of Kent’s Studio 3 Gallery. The gallery is open to the public from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.
RESILIENCE & LIGHT: Contemporary Palestinian Art
Studio 3 Gallery, 11 April to 18 May 2013
The works of art in this exhibition have been brought to Canterbury from Gaza, London, Venice, Paris, and Dubai as a result of the collaboration between Studio 3 Gallery and Arts Canteen, a London-based cultural venture whose aim ‘is to explore artistic relationships between the Middle East and Mediterranean regions and diverse audiences across Europe’. Our intention in working together has been to celebrate the extraordinary creativity of contemporary Palestinian artists.
The title Resilience and Light refers to two qualities shared by this otherwise remarkably diverse body of work: firstly, the resilience required by artists to create art in conditions of conflict, suffering and exile; secondly, the desire to illuminate through art lived experiences so that they speak to universal human concerns such as fear and despair, but also freedom and hope. As the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish put it, in a verse quoted by Hazem Harb in the title of a work shown for the first time in this exhibition, ‘there is much on this earth worth living for’. In this poem, Darwish associates fondly recalled personal memories – ‘the aroma of bread at dawn, a woman’s point of view about men…’ – as he builds towards a final stanza dedicated to ‘the Lady of Earth… Palestine’.
Laila Shawa is one of the preeminent figures in Palestinian art. She trained in Rome and Salzburg in the early 1960s, counting among her teachers Renato Guttuso, Giorgio de Chirico and Oskar Kokoschka. Among her best-known works are the stained glass windows of the Rashad Shawa Cultural Centre in Gaza (constructed 1976-88). Her recent work in this exhibition shows a deep concern with the position of Palestinian women and children, and also asks far-reaching questions about cultural identity through bringing traditional Arabic geometrical designs and calligraphy into bold juxtaposition with the visual conventions of Western Pop and Op art. Shawa states that: ‘my work offers a synthesis of past and present ideas, formal, personal and political, into a powerful contemporary vision of Islamic popular culture.’
Taysir Batniji, Hazem Harb, Mohammed Joha and Hani Zurob represent a younger generation of Palestinian artists, many of whom create their art in exile. Their work is often hybrid in form, combining or switching between painting, photography, film and installation art. As Kamal Boullata has written of Zurob: the Palestinian artist making art in Europe but outside of European art traditions, following what Arthur C. Danto has called ‘the end of art’, occupies a very particular cultural position. The thematic exploration of memory, family and place in the work of these artists is perhaps closer to the Arab literary tradition than to any contemporary artistic movement. The result, as Jean Fisher has argued, is a ‘Palestinian’ art that is more humanistic than propagandistic, sustaining a narrative of ‘lives lived in the space between hope and despair’.
I am most grateful to Aser El Saqqa, who proposed this exhibition, organized the loan of works and co-curated it with me in Studio 3 Gallery. It has been a genuine pleasure to collaborate with Aser and Arts Canteen. Both Aser and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the artists who have so generously lent their work: Taysir Batniji, Hazem Harb, Mohammed Joha, Laila Shawa, Hani Zurob, and also Raed Issa and Majed Shala. Many thanks to Jean Fisher for the eloquent introduction she has provided to this online catalogue. Thanks also to Zoe Floyd for working on the artists’ biographies. A special thank you to Rhiannon Jones, Studio 3’s tireless and dedicated intern, for all of her help in supporting the exhibition. Thank you also to all of the Studio 3 Gallery volunteers, and to the staff of the School of Arts at the University of Kent.
Ben Thomas (Curator of Studio 3 Gallery)
Resilience and Light – An Introduction
In the context of ‘globalised’ artistic practices, when artists generally reject ‘nationalist’ labels, why does it matter that there should be a category named ‘Palestinian’ art, and what, if anything, would characterise it? To give even a partial answer to this, one needs to think back to a fledgling Palestinian national modernity emerging during the mid-1800s under Ottoman and later British colonial rule, but then cruelly curtailed by the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, when the majority population were either killed or forced into exile. In that year’s edition of the Venice Biennale, what was to have been a ‘Palestine’ pavilion was renamed ‘Israel’. Palestinian intellectual culture – its paintings and libraries – was stolen from homes and institutions by the colonisers and is now largely inaccessible to its true inheritors. Subsequently, as Kamal Boullata relates in Palestinian Art from 1850 to the Present, Palestinian artists remaining in the occupied territories were subjected to harassment by the Israeli state – the closure of exhibitions, the destruction of art works, and throughout the 1960s the prohibition of the use of the colours of the Palestinian flag. Destruction of culture is but one facet of what Ilan Pappe in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine has called ‘memoricide’: to claim legitimacy, the coloniser typically erases or appropriates the signs of the indigenous population.
Censorship of Palestinian artists has, however, continued beyond Palestine-Israeli borders. Two recent incidents come to mind: firstly, the cancellation, after initial acceptance, of Emily Jacir’s proposal stazione for the 2009 edition of the Venice Biennale. Jacir’s project was to add Arabic translations to the names of the vaporetto stops along the Grand Canal in recognition of the historical links between Venice and Arabic culture. No explanation has ever been given for the cancellation. Secondly, in 2011 Larissa Sansour was shortlisted for the Lacoste-sponsored photography prize by the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne to develop a series of photographs, Nation Estate, which satirically relocated Palestinian cities to a skyscraper. But, according to Sansour, Lacoste claimed her submission was ‘too pro-Palestinian’, rejected her proposal and asked her to sign a statement saying that she withdrew from her nomination ‘in order to pursue other opportunities,’ which she refused. Lacoste later denied this, claiming that the work was inappropriate to the competition theme. To its credit, the museum dissolved its relationship with Lacoste and offered Sansour a separate exhibition.
What, then, does it mean for the work of an artist of Palestinian heritage to be accused of being ‘too pro-Palestinian’? Is this not tantamount to insisting one rejects ones own being? We here encounter a common, willful slippage between the political and the ethnic by ‘outside’ institutions, whose motives are by no means transparent. But it illustrates the restrictions and contradictions that surround the cultural productions of Palestinians. Despite the UN recognition in November 2012 of Palestine as a ‘non-member’ state (which, it seems, has finally enabled a ‘Palestine Pavilion’ for the 2013 Venice Biennale), Palestinians remain a stateless nation, united as a people by commonly held meanings that are based in cultural and historical belonging to a defined geography. To paraphrase Edward Said, just because there is no Palestinian state doesn’t mean there are no Palestinians. In so far as poetry was traditionally the primary art form of Arabic culture, Palestinian visual media have tended towards the metaphoric or satirical, speaking to the pain of life in exile – as in the paintings of Hani Zurob – or the absurdities of life under occupation – as one sees with Sansour and the films of Elia Suleiman – rather than the overtly propagandist. It is therefore in this context that the category ‘Palestinian’ art retains a resonance beyond nationalist ascriptions, as that which sustains cultural memory and circulates the Palestinian narrative as lives lived in the space between hope and despair.
Professor Jean Fisher (Art and Design Research Institute, Middlesex University London)
My Mother, David and Me, 2012, film
Taysir Batniji’s multidisciplinary artistic output addresses Palestinian reality by focusing on displacement, transition and the impossibility of movement. Although trained as a painter, Batniji has worked since the 1990s mainly with installation and performance: mediums which perhaps suit his transitory lifestyle between Palestine and France. Since 2001, Batniji has focused on photography and video, seeking to document Palestine in a subtle and systematic way. His works are, therefore, inseparable from the social, political and cultural context of Palestine.
Born in Gaza in 1966, Taysir Batniji studied art at Al-Najah University in Nablus on the West Bank from 1985-92. In 1994 he was awarded a fellowship to study at the École des Beaux-Arts, Bourges, France, where in 1997 he graduated with a DNSEP (Higher National Diploma in Plastic Expression). Since then he has divided his time between France and Palestine, developing an interdisciplinary practice including drawing, painting, installation and performance, often closely related to his heritage. He has participated in numerous international exhibitions in Europe and beyond. During the 52nd Venice Biennale, Batniji was part of Palestine c/o Venice (2009) and the following year La Biennale Cuvee, Linz, Austria (2010). He was the Abraaj Capital Art Prize winner 2012 and his most recent project is an installation with soap, L’homme ne vit pas seulement de pain, for the Marseille-Provence 2013, European capital of culture.
I will wait for you forever, 2010, mixed media on collage and canvas, 140 x 200cm
There is much on this earth worth living for, 2010, mixed media on collage and canvas, 140 x 200cm
Hazem Harb’s artwork is concerned with the human suffering endured in contested, war-torn Gaza. Having spent his childhood and teenage years in Gaza, his artwork aims to be an apolitical and humanistic account of on-going conflict within the region. Born in 1980 in Gaza City, Harb currently lives and works between Rome and Dubai. In 2004, Harb enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and graduated from the European Institute of Design in 2009. Harb’s work has been exhibited internationally in group and solo exhibitions worldwide. His first solo exhibition in London was in 2010, Is this your first time in Gaza? In 2011, Harb was awarded a residency at the Delfina Foundation, which was also supported by A. M. Qattan Foundation. Harb has won numerous awards, including being selected as of one ten artists for A. M. Qattan Foundation Young Artist of the Year 2008. While using a variety of techniques, Hazem Harb deals with a number of core themes including war, loss, trauma, human vulnerability and global instability. He continues to explore his own brand of multi‐media, conceptual art using all the tools at his disposal. His most recent solo exhibition, Me and the other half, was shown at Art13 London in 2013.
The Umbrella, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 90cm
Freedom, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 90cm
The Cat, 2009, acrylic on paper, 70 x 90cm
The Market, 2009, acrylic on paper, 70 x 90 cm
Boy and Fish, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 90cm
Seven Eyes, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 90 cm
Mohammed Joha’s paintings are based on his personal life experience in Gaza. Joha’s artworks explore themes such as exile and incarceration. By varying his use of paint in style and technique, his paintings express universal values and incorporate the fantastical. Through embracing freedom of imagination and interpretation, his work aims to overcome cultural barriers. Mohammed Joha was born in Gaza in 1978 and graduated in Art Education from Al-Aqsa University in 2003. Through mixed techniques of collage, painting and photography, much of his work has explored the questions and experiences of childhood, and the loss of innocence and freedom experienced by the current generation of children in Gaza. He was winner of the A. M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year Award in 2004. He has been selected for workshops and residencies in Amman, Jordan and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Besides participating in exhibitions worldwide, he had his first solo exhibition, Dreams in Black and White, at the Mosaic Rooms, London, in 2011. Most recently, his ambitious project, The Jasmine and Bread Revolution, was shown in 2012 at the Courtyard Gallery, Dubai, as well as exhibiting at RichMix, London as part of Despite, 2012. Now living in Italy, Joha is currently working on a project using new techniques with recycled materials.
Ecstasy, 2008, acrylic and metal leaf on canvas, 200 x 100 cm
Night and the City, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 100 cm
A River Flows Through It, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 140 x 100 cm
Inside Paradise, 2011, photography and mixed media on canvas, 120 x 120 cm
Trapped I-III, 2011, photography and mixed media on canvas, 100 x 110 cm
We Can (Impossible Dreams), 2011, photography and mixed media on canvas, 120 x 120 cm
Stamp for a Lost Country, 2011, photography and mixed media on canvas, 160 x 100 cm
Meditation 18, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 130 x 100 cm
Defiant and based on a heightened sense of realism, Laila Shawa’s artworks are some of the most influential contemporary works from Palestine. Exhibited internationally, in both private and public collections, her works are rooted in her desire to unveil injustice and persecution. Shawa often draws upon the geometry of Islamic design to represent Islamic popular culture, and also questions cultural identity by contrasting photographic material and Pop Art motifs with these traditional designs. Born in Gaza in 1940, Laila Shawa graduated summa cum laude in Fine Arts from the Italian Accademia di Belle Arti in 1964 and received a diploma in plastic arts from the Accademia San Giacomo in Rome. She exhibited at the Institute for Contemporary Art, London, with her Where Souls Dwell, as part of the AKA Peace exhibition in 2012. Public collections where her works is represented include: the National Galleries of Jordan and Malaysia, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Crucifixion 2000: In the Name of God), the British Museum in London and the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C. She has been described as ‘one of the few Arab artists to successfully break through barriers in the West’ (Dr Christa Paula). She now lives and works in London.
The Arab Spring is not yet complete, 2011, mixed media on canvas, 200 x 200cm
One of the defining features of Hani Zurob’s artwork is his abandonment of a collective pictorial rhetoric in favour of subjective expression. This is apparent in paintings that combine abstraction and figuration, and which incorporate imagery found in family photographs. He has explored, through a series of paintings focusing on the image of his young son, themes such as identity, transition and collective belonging. Exiled from Palestine, his work also explores displacement.
Hani Zurob was born in Rafah Refugee Camp, Gaza, in 1976. He graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from Al Najah University, Nablus. In 2006 he was awarded a residency at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. His work has been exhibited internationally and is in public and private collections worldwide. The conflicted nature of Palestinian identity, and the condition of exile, is a recurrent theme throughout his work. He has said of his work ‘What I try to do when I paint is to rewrite my life; I try to place myself as a witness of the situations and the events I experience’. Recent work was exhibited at the Institut du Monde Arab, Paris, in Le corps découvert: Art arabe contemporain and at RichMix, London as part of the Despite exhibition. A monograph tracing the development of his work, Between Exits by Kamal Boullata was published by Black Dog Publishing, London (November 2012). Hani Zurob was tipped by The Huffington Post as one of ten ‘international artists to watch in 2013’.
RESILIENCE AND LIGHT: CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN ART
At a time of great change and uncertainty for the Arab world, Studio 3 Gallery presents the exhibition Resilience and Light: Contemporary Palestinian Art which opens on Thursday 11 April 2013.
The exhibition has been organised in partnership with Arts Canteen whose director, Aser El Saqqa, has curated a distinguished group of Palestinian artists for this exhibition including such leading figures in contemporary Arab art as: Laila Shawa, who exhibited at ICA’s AKA Peace exhibition; Abraaj Capital Art Prize winner Taysir Batniji; Hani Zurob, who was tipped by The Huffington Post as one of ten ‘international artists to watch in 2013’;
Hazem Harb who recently participated at the inaugural ART13 in London with his solo exhibition, Impossible Travel, Me and the Other Half & Inside-Outside; and Mohammed Joha who launched his ambitious project The Jasmine and Bread Revolution in 2012 at The Courtyard Gallery, Dubai.
While diverse in approach and style, the artists included in this exhibition are working within a shared set of circumstances that define the reception of contemporary Palestinian art within and beyond the Arab world. Resilience and Light will explore a number of themes arising from their specific situations, including how art is interpreted within and out of its historical, social and political context.
The artists exhibiting include: Taysir Batniji, Hazem Harb, Mohammed Joha, Laila Shawa and Hani Zurob.
Ben Thomas, Curator of Studio 3 Gallery, said: ‘it is very exciting to be able to bring to Canterbury such compelling work by Palestinian artists.’ Aser El Saqqa added that ‘curating this exhibition has been an enormous challenge. This collection has come to Canterbury from Gaza, London, Venice, Paris, Zurich and Dubai. Our aim is to show work of outstanding creativity, innovation and inspiration to new audiences’.
Laila Shawa, one of the artists who will be present at the private view said ‘my work proffers a synthesis of past and present ideas, formal, personal and political, into a powerful contemporary vision of Islamic popular culture.’
Resilience and Light will be on view from 11 April – 18 May.
Monday 18 February 5-7pm in Studio 3 Gallery
‘One of the Uk’s most important printmakers and print theoreticians’ – Art in Print
The artist Paul Coldwell will discuss his retrospective exhibition A Layered Practice – Graphic Works 1993-2012 in Studio 3 Gallery on Monday 18 February at 5pm. He will be talking with curator Ben Thomas about his work, influences, and the role of printmaking in contemporary art.
Paul Coldwell, who is Professor at Chelsea College of Art & Design (UAL), is best known as a pioneer of digital printmaking, and has established an international reputation through an artistic career that has seen him frequently represent the UK at major print events such as the Ljubljana Print Biennial, the International Print Triennial at Cracow, and the Northern Print Biennial. Coldwell also has an international reputation as a print scholar and curator. He is the author of the acclaimed book Printmaking: a contemporary perspective (2010) and is a regular contributor to the journals Print Quarterly and Art in Print. A long-term collaborator of Paula Rego’s, Coldwell has also written knowledgeably about her printmaking practice. He was the curator of the major exhibition Morandi’s Legacy: Influences on British Art at the Estorick Collection, which traced connections between the art of Giorgio Morandi and British artists like Michael Craig-Martin, Patrick Caulfield and Tony Cragg.
Here are some snapshots taken during the installation of Paul Coldwell: A Layered Practice – Graphic Works 1993-2012, during 10th and 11th January 2013. The effect of seeing Paul’s work in the gallery has been revelatory – there is a clear sense of artistic progression through the oeuvre, but also thematic resonances across time and across the space of the gallery. The bronzes knit everything together, forming a three-dimensional version of the constellations traced in the prints on the walls.