The exhibition Ways of Living engages artists who occupy and transform spaces; with both emerging and historical artists including Hannah Black, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Jesse Darling, Sharon Hayes, Eva Hesse, Jenny Holzer, Peter Hujar, Juliana Huxtable, Anne Imhof, Beatrice Loft Schulz, Adrian Piper, Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings, Paul Thek, Lena Tutunjian and Holly White.
This exhibition looks at artists who have sought practices inverse to the individualised, satellite modes in which we are increasingly expected to work, using materials and situations contingent to the places they live, no matter how internationally connected they themselves may be. In doing so, these artists actualise, imagine or politicise the spaces in which they find themselves; fostering a still-needed sense of locality and producing directed responses to problems definitive of their time, place and situation.
Artworks that speak about society outside of the gallery are not new; nor is the model of the process, rather than the product, as art. A processual and collaborative way of working as a fallout of socio-political austerity also has historical precursors. Thus, this exhibition presents new commissions alongside twentieth century works from the David Roberts Collection or on loan to draw parallels as to how the residue, the material of the artwork itself, can exist potently after the act from which it was born.
“Ways of Living focuses on artwork that is directly geared to be within, or part of, the society and relationships in which the artist lives. It presents material that seeps out from the immediate and generative ways of working of a range of artists – works that are somehow performances, or documentations of performances. The works often subvert or cast a spotlight on the institutionalisation of power. Bluntly, we could say this show is about process-as-artwork, and many of these processes involve negotiation and agency – a reality of, or definition of, or even possibly alternative to, the term ‘collaboration’. We are interested in what documentation is, and how it can operate as a half-life: much of this exhibition explores how a process remains, how the work is an act in its own right, and how something so visceral can still speak to us when taken out of the specific context of its making.
Many of the artists in the show are artists connected to Arcadia Missa in some way: this self-organised nepotism functions as a transportation of the space created between us and our peers, but it is of course transformed rather than simply transplaced. This is why it is important for us to think about what space is. On the one hand, Arcadia Missa is a physical meeting point/production and exhibition space/publishers in a precariously-rented railway arch. Yet what has urged and inspired us is the space created through conversations with those close to us: conversations which have opened outwards, sometimes forcibly inserting themselves into a another place, sometimes picked up with or without the mouths that have voiced and willed a discourse into being.
This is why thinking about artworks as containing an act, a thought, from elsewhere, or being performances themselves, is key. This show continues an ongoing conversation, or battle, around how representations can work, how they can continue a critique when removed from their site of origin. Working with older artists we admire as well as works separated from their artists to reside in a collection helps us to think about this, and to learn from those who have been negotiating the terms on which artworks operate since before we existed.” Arcadia Missa, 2016
Live events as part of the project include performances by Beatrice Loft Schulz, DJ sets by Goth Tech (Holly White and Josh Grigg) and Juliana Huxtable; a week-long residency and performance event by artist duo @Gaybar (Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings); a book launch event by Holly White, and Curators’ tours by Arcadia Missa.
Arcadia Missa is a self-organised space founded in 2011 in Peckham, South East London. It combines independent research and curatorial projects, exhibition space and publications platform. It has presented off-site projects at international institutions including Astrup Fearnley Museet (Oslo), South London Gallery (London), 55 Sydenham Road (Sydney) and Tank TV (London and online). The journal How To Sleep Faster, which combines creative writing with critical theory and commentary, is now in its seventh edition. Arcadia Missa is run by Founding Director and Curator Rozsa Farkas (b. 1987, UK) and Director Zhoe Granger (b.1988, New Zealand).
DRAF Curators’ Series supports independent curators by commissioning special research-based projects, considering the curator as an author. The programme is not open to proposals: curators whose work DRAF has been following are specifically invited to develop an original exhibition at DRAF.
Former participants include Cylena Simonds (UK), Raimundas Malasauskas (Lithuania), Mihnea Mircan (Romania), Mathieu Copeland (UK), Simone Menegoi and Chris Sharp (It and US), Pablo Leon de la Barra (Mexico), Natasha Ginwala (India) and Vivian Ziherl (Australia) and Christine Eyene (Cameroon/France).
DRAF Curators’ Series is supported by Arts Council England.