AboutThe Parfitt Gallery is pleased to present A Matter of Speculation, an exhibition by the artists' group FOLD. The work in this show is a series of collaborative print and book works generated through process and exchange. Fundamental to this process is the creation of rules as a framework for experimentation. The rules may be pre-determined by way of a theme or formula, or made mutable by the intervention of the artists as the work progresses. In some instances the rules are arbitrarily chosen, but more often, they are informed by, and in response to the artists' own practice. Working collaboratively, and to rule, demands engagement with new or unfamiliar ways of working. It may also challenge notions of authorship, as in the project 5 x 5 (2004). In this project, the work was hung in clusters that related to the rules by which the work was generated. As the groupings were untitled, the viewer was invited to speculate as to which work linked to each rule and therefore, possibly to each artist thus highlighting the fact that the work was that of the group rather than any one individual.
Similarly, FOLD's collaborative practice has referenced the parlour game the âExquisite Corpse' made popular as an artistic strategy by the Surrealists, in which the resulting artwork becomes an accumulation of shared production. From an agreed starting point perhaps a word, a phrase or an idea an initial response is made. From this point, the work is passed around to each member of the group who will make a response to what is already there. These interventions have included the addition of text, print layers, photographic elements and collage, the use of found objects and cutting through sections as a way of revealing or removing. The resulting work is unregulated by group members and may be an end in itself, as in the work Consequence (2007), or it may be made as a way of generating new possibilities, elements of which the group may decide to develop collectively, as in Fourfold (2009). Ultimately these processes produce unforeseen outcomes and create an element of surprise.
Collaboration in this way is not the result of a singular vision and creating the work is very much a process of a mutual exchange agreements and disagreements, suggestions and responses. The work remains open-ended; potentially at a point of transformation, as the rules are left visible for anyone else to respond to. However, this aspect of the process exists more as an inherent possibility, rather than in the Fluxus tradition of instruction.
The work presented in A Matter of Speculation has been developed from FOLD's latest publication Instructed (2010) and as suggested by the title, is based on a series of unrelated directives. These include a mathematical game, a series of composite instructions from manuals and invitations to engage with specific mental and physical activities. The way the exhibition will be curated is unpredictable in as much as the âinstructions' for display will be picked at random from a variety of pre-determined sources.