Parallel of Art & Life: A Conference on the Independent Group

25 Apr 2013 – 26 Apr 2013

Cost of entry

Two day ticket: £35 / £30 Concessions / £20 ICA Members / £15 Student ICA Members - Single day ticket: £20 / £18 Concessions / £15 ICA Members / £10 ICA Student Members

ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Piccadilly Circus/Charing Cross

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It is 60 years since the ground-breaking exhibition Parallel of Life & Art took place at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. This two day event will investigate the exhibition work of the Independent Group at the very institution which first fostered and encouraged the practice. Moreover, the conference will also consider ways in which the Independent Group have been, and continue to be, exhibited. How can the Independent Group's transdisciplinary practice best be understood and exhibited? The event follows on from last year's event, BUNK: Celebrating 60 Years of the Independent Group which contributed to broader understanding of British art and architecture; the papers are to be published in a special issue of the Journal of Visual Culture Summer 2013. The main aim of the conference is to bring together researchers, practitioners and curators who are working on aspects of the Independent Group, to share their knowledge and approaches to this seminal moment in the history of British visual culture. Although it only met between 1952-55, the issues explored by the members, including architects Alison and Peter Smithson, James Stirling and Colin St John Wilson; artists Magda Cordell, Richard Hamilton, Nigel Henderson, Eduardo Paolozzi, William Turnbull and Nigel Henderson and writers Lawrence Alloway, Reyner Banham and Toni del Renzio, continue to resonate today. The exhibitions organised by the group — Growth & Form; Tomorrow's Furniture; Parallel of Life & Art; Man, Machine & Motion and sections of This is Tomorrow — were highly innovative, both in terms of layout and the range of objects displayed. Building on the ICA's Surrealist legacy, the Independent Group shows introduced the new age of modernity and mass culture to the gallery space. Reflecting the Group's collage mentality, new technology and high end design were juxtaposed with avant garde art. Many of the Independent Group members went on to work across and between disciplines. In addition, no fewer than seven exhibitions devoted to members of the Independent Group will be taking place, or are being planned, at the time of the conference. Therefore, the two day event represents the opportunity to share strategies, explore ideas, and explain decisions taken by exhibition curators. The history of the Independent Group has come under increased scrutiny internationally over the past ten years, and this sequel to last year's event will provide an opportunity for researchers to meet and share their enthusiasm with each other and with a broader audience at the ICA. Please note that the exact schedule may be subject to change Thursday 25th April New Voices: Research Students Present Their Work 10.00 Kevin Lotery (Harvard University) An Exhibit/An Aesthetic 10.20 Claudia Marfella (Kingston University) Nigel Henderson and Eduardo Paolozzi: Italian connections 10.40 Ann Pillar (University of Reading) Edward Wright (1912—1988) artist, designer, teacher 11.00 Elly Thomas (Slade School of Art) Meccano Work: Eduardo Paolozzi's Kits 11.20 Refreshment Break 11.40 Jessica Kelly (Middlesex University) Exhibiting Differences (hiding similarities) 12.00 Hannah Durham (Architectural Association) In the ‘The House of the Future' (1956) and ‘This is Tomorrow' (1956), where was the consideration of the role of sound in these two exhibitions? 12.20 Giulia Smith (UCL) Human Images by the Independent Group 12.40 Discussion 13.00 Lunch 14.00 Welcome and Introduction Matt Williams (ICA) and Hilary Robinson (Middlesex University) 14.15 Ben Highmore (University of Sussex) Anxious Vision: New Brutalism and Parallels of Life and Art 14.45 Michelle Cotton (Firstsite, Colchester) Hammer Prints 15.15 Ben Cranfield (Birkbeck College) The Parallel Structures of the Curatorial 16.00 Refreshment Break 16.30 Alex Coles (University of Huddersfield) The Independent Group: A Transdisciplinary Approach Reception and Private View of The Independent Group: Parallel of Art & Life at the ICA. Friday 26th April 11.30 Nayia Yiakoumaki (Whitechapel Art Gallery) Exhibiting The Independent Group 12.00 Martin Hammer (University of Kent) Respect: The IG take on Francis Bacon 13.00 Lunch 14.00 Clare Lilley (Yorkshire Sculpture Park) William Turnbull 14.15 Hannah Dewar (Tate Modern) Richard Hamilton 14.30 Simon Martin (Pallant House Gallery, Chichester) Eduardo Paolozzi: Collaging Culture 14.45 Katy Norris (Pallant House Gallery, Chichester) Jean Dubuffet, Art Brut and ‘New Brutalism' 15.00 Refreshment Break 15.30 Victoria Walsh (RCA) and Claire Zimmerman (University of Michigan) Aesthetic Slogans: Hunstanton School and the Photography of Life and Art, 1949-55 15.45 Anne Massey (Middlesex University) Exhibiting The Independent Group 16.00 Round Table Discussion: Chaired by Professor Jon Bird, Middlesex University 17.00 Closing Remarks and Next Steps


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