Epilogues: It Started with a Car Crash

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The Gate, not the idea of the Thing but the Thing itself, 2005
Epilogues: It Started with a Car Crash
Curated by: Charles Danby

Unit 2, 210 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9NQ
United Kingdom
September 17th, 2011 - October 23rd, 2011

tower hamlets
+44 (0) 20 8980 5475
Thu-Sun 12-6; or by appointment and until 9:00pm on the First Thursday of the month.
photography, installation, video-art, conceptual


Epilogues: It Started With A Car Crash examines how artists address the contexts, ideologies, and histories that surround them in the work of their contemporaries and predecessors.

The exhibition looks at the nature of archives, ideas of dialogue and exchange, and of education both inside and against educational institutions; a timely response to today’s climate of cultural and institutional instability.

Vibeke Tandberg’s works, produced across multiple media, cut through handed-down, inherited, and culturally generated mythologies of gender and identity. Her photographic and video series Old Man going up and down a Staircase (2003), showing manipulated self-portraits (whilst pregnant) of the artist dressed as an old man, connect through multiple channels to the work, lifestyle, and myth making of Marcel Duchamp, whilst the silhouetted portraits from her more recent (2010) Winehouse Variation (Amy) works add further dimension to this interplay.

Alongside is a new and significant work by Thomas Raat, a 1:1 scale replica in vinyl adhesive of Barnett Newman’sWho’s afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III (1966-67) following its vandalism at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1986. An extension of an earlier series (from 2006), Thomas Raat shows the slashes to be irreversible marks that confront and collapse ideas of singular and stationary origin. Also showing by Thomas Raat is the work, Das Sprechen (2010) which is a turnaround of the celebrated piece Das Schweigen von Marcel Duchamp wird Überbewertet (The Silence Of Marcel Duchamp Is Overrated) (1964) by Josef Beuys.

Duchamp remained a haunting presence and recurring point of focus for Ray Johnson who, through Black Mountain College and the New York Correspondence School, challenged institutional orthodoxies and initiated the mail art programme. Epilogues: It Started With A Car Crash includes selected, unseen mail art pieces that highlight the control, sharpness and play of Johnson’s conversational exchange and reflect the connective nature of his legacy to other works in the exhibition.

Alastair MacKinven’s All the things you could be now if Robert Smithson’s wife was your mother (2008) is an archival record of a performance that restages the making of Nancy Holt’s earthwork Star Crossed (1979). In conjunction with its title the work concludes as the artist crawls naked through the work, contesting the agency of inheritance and handed down futures.

Nancy Holt’s husband Robert Smithson also features in works by The Bruce High Quality Foundation. The Gate(2005) is a documented performance in which the Collective set about installing a scale replica of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates (2005) onto Robert Smithson’s Floating Island to Travel around Manhattan Island (1970/2005). The Collective’s work draws on the circumstance of two unrelated works presented in New York in 2005.

In conjunction with Epilogues: It Started With A Car Crash there will be the offsite event It Started With A Car Crash: Alternative Educational Road Tour at the Slade Research Centre and a Pigeon Magazine launch and film screening at IMT Gallery in association with the Artist Books Weekend:
Pigeon Magazine launch and film screening
Saturday 24th September 6pm – 9pm

Pigeon Magazine will launch their first published issue, casting a perceptive eye over the role of the studio within current changing modes of artistic practice.
It Started With A Car Crash: Alternative Educational Road Tour
Tuesday 18th October 2pm – 8pm at Slade Research Centre, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB

It Started With A Car Crash: Alternative Educational Road Tour seeks to open up a debate around alternative networks of arts education and artwork dissemination. The Bruce High Quality Foundation set up their own University in 2009, and in 2011 they embarked on a coast-to-coast road trip of America visiting educational institutions, project spaces, groups and individuals, documented in their work Teach4Amerika (2011). This is presented through the event in whcih the Bruce High Quality Foundation will be joined by UK based groups and collectives including the Kurt Schwitters Summer School to open and share ideas on arts education.
Also accompanying Epilogues: It Started With A Car Crash is It Started With A Car Crash a publication produced from invited contributions from publishing collectives, zine artists, and writers. Contributors include Pigeon Magazine, The Ladies of the Press, IRP, ZEENE.

Epilogues: It Started With A Car Crash is curated by Charles Danby and supported by the Arts Council England.