ARTISTS CREATE A VISUAL RESPONSE TO SHAKESPEARE IN FOLIO EXHIBITION
The Bard Gets a Contemporary Art Make-over
20 – 25 OCTOBER 2011
Friday 21 October, 2.30pm - free public talks with artists including Tom Hunter and RSC staff
Folio is an exhibition of prints from the Royal College of Art Printmaking programme, created in response to Shakespeare and to celebrate the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 50th birthday. The exhibition includes two bodies of work – the first is a collection of original lithographs made in 1964 by the RCA Printmaking Department to mark Shakespeare’s quarto-centenary. The prints include work from several acclaimed artists and printmakers including Joe Tilson, Allen Jones, Elizabeth Frink, Norman Ackroyd and Sandra Blow. The complete set of 26 prints was originally exhibited in 1964 at the RSC’s Mermaid Theatre in London to commemorate William Shakespeare’s birth in 1564. Now almost five decades later, this work will be shown again to the public.
The second part of the exhibition features a new set of prints created by RCA Printmaking students and staff, as well as invited artists such as Bob & Roberta Smith, Adam Dant and Christiana Baumgartner. Students and staff were invited to visit the RSC to experience rehearsals, watch productions and get a behind the scenes glimpse of the work of the Company. This has had a huge influence on the work and the themes explored range from Shakespeare’s use of language, a history of Shakespearean actors through to the digitisation of his complete works.
By exhibiting the archive prints alongside contemporary work, Folio explores how artistic responses to Shakespeare and the medium of printmaking itself have changed and evolved over the last 50 years.
Artist Joe Tilson, whose original 1964 print was inspired by Shakespeare’s XV Sonnet said:
"Shakespeare’s sonnets are just as important now as they were then. The imagery and technique I chose to use was very different to the other artists and was technically quite difficult to produce in 1964. It’s fascinating to see the print again 47 years later and I’m pleased it’s being exhibited at the RSC and re-printed for the portfolio."
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to purchase the 2011 prints with prices starting at £350 for student work; £550 for staff; and £650 for guest artists (excluding Bob & Roberta Smith's print which is £750), all prices exclude VAT. Proceeds from print sales go towards supporting Printmaking students at the College.
Folio is generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation.