In Summer 2012, SPACE and Studio Voltaire will present a major two-venue exhibition of the work of the celebrated British photographer Jo Spence. The presentation will be the UK’s largest exhibition to date of Jo Spence’s work since her death in 1992.
Jo Spence (1934 – 1992) was a key figure on the UK photographic scene from the mid seventies and crucial in debates on photography and the critique of representation. Both as an artist and teacher Spence rigorously explored complex issues of class, power, gender, health and the body; combining personal experience, political understanding and critical theory in a practice that, despite its enormous influence, remains somewhat neglected today.
The exhibition offers UK audiences an unprecedented opportunity to experience a major survey of her work across both SPACE and Studio Voltaire. The content will comprise of key photographic works alongside documentary and archive material. Chronologically split across the two sites, the exhibition will bring together rarely seen works loaned from international public collections as well as materials from the Jo Spence Memorial Archive that have not been previously exhibited.
SPACE’s presentation will focus on Spence’s work from the late 1960s to the early 1980s and will explore the explicitly social and political dimensions of her early solo and collaborative work. Key here is Spence’s engagement with the mode of documentary photography, her growing awareness of the social context of art and her movement to disrupt formal artist authorship through multiple group encounters. Central to the exhibition will be two major projects: Beyond The Family Album (1978 -79) and Remodeling Photo History (with Terry Dennett, 1982), both of which will be shown in full.
Studio Voltaire will present later works from the early 1980s up to the artist’s death in 1992. These works broadly deal with issues of health, therapy and self-empowerment. The exhibition will also include The Final Project (with Terry Dennett, 1991-92), a series conceived when Spence was diagnosed with leukaemia that has not been previously been exhibited.
The exhibition is made in collaboration with Terry Dennett and the Jo Spence Memorial Archive
Supported by Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts.
With kind assistance from Richard Saltoun.
NOT OUR CLASS, Studio Voltaire’s associated Education and Participation Programme, is supported by Bloomberg and by the National lottery through Arts Council England.