Ten artists have each engaged in a dialogue around the creation of new work for this exhibition. The resulting works, in pairs and including one collaborative piece, create an intense visual conversation of affinities and differences.
The mutual sharing of ideas about a portfolio of work that is not your own is deeply rooted in fine art practice. This quid pro quo movement of critical exchange has been around for centuries. For example, Matisse immersed himself in the work of others, quoting imagery from his friends and contemporaries, even going into debt to buy work from those painters he admired, thereby sustaining an ongoing dialogue with their work. Discussion about the work of colleagues and contemporaries remains a central strand in fine art training, and is often sustained beyond the confines of art school through informal networks, collaborations, social art practices, shared studios, and other innovative modes of exchange.
It is easy, in a world so dominated by the visual, to customize new ideas to fit what we already know. However, like Matisse, the contemporary artist will work with an idea in a way that has the transformative effect of changing its core meaning. The artists here have shown how embracing ideas from other artists about their work can open up a new direction, transforming artistic development and allowing for extended collective discussion and understanding.
A first edition of the exhibition was shown at Lewisham Arthouse in 2018, with dialogues between Alexandra Baraitser and Trevor Burgess; Julie Fountain and Olha Pryymak. The curators are seeking to expand the exhibition to include further dialogues in a regional touring show. A 28pp. catalogue has been published for the ARTHOUSE1 exhibition.