Recent British Painting is an exhibition of paintings by artists based in the UK. Its plain and intellectually modest title pays homage to a particular type of traveling group show produced by bodies such as the British Council in the late 1970s and early 1980s, designed to showcase British art abroad. With their absence of a foregrounded curatorial agenda, and their apparent reluctance to reflect on the cultural politics in which they were enmeshed, these exhibitions now seem very distant from contemporary practice.
Recent British Painting is not a survey exhibition, but rather a kind of appropriation of the (problematic, and quite possibly outmoded) survey show format. It features works by eleven artists born between and the 1930s and the 1980s, each of which forms a distinctive painterly proposition. Recent British Painting is a sequel to the 2010 Recent British Sculpture, also at Grimm amsterdam, an exhibition that its curator tom Morton described in the accompanying catalogue as an opportunity to ‘reflect on what might be gained by the curator edging, or at least appearing to edge, out of the artwork’s way’.
A list of the concerns explored by the works in Recent British Painting might include (but would certainly not be limited to): the ongoing oddities of figuration and abstraction, the restless relationship between painting and its own (post digital) object-hood, the legacy of various Modernisms, and image-making as a duty of care. other preoccupations include autobiography, performance, cinema, humour, and what we might call painterly poise.
Recent British Painting does not offer up a thesis, but neither is it simply a celebration of plurality. at is core, perhaps, is the question of what causes a painting – and an exhibition – to be made.
About the curator: Tom Morton
at the invitation of Grimm, the English curator Tom Morton, will use the two gallery spaces to share his views on contemporary painting in Britain. Tom Morton was co-curator of the British art show 7 and curator at the hayward Gallery in london. he works as a contributing editor to Frieze magazine. Previously he curated the Recent British Sculpture exhibition.
The exhibition runs from October 18 – November 24, 2012 at both GRIMM galleries.