Back in October 2010 I worked with the Laurence Sterne Trust and a York-based artists' publishing collective, information as material, on an exhibition of 'conceptual writing' at Shandy Hall in Coxwold. The Perverse Library (previous blog posts can be found here and here) was a success for all involved with good coverage in the press, including a review in the Independent and a feature in the Guardian Guide, inspiring lots of people to make the journey up to North Yorkshire.
True to the spirit of Laurence Sterne, an opening party (the 'Grand Vernissage) was held on the final day of the exhibition. With the aid of a double decker, red Route Master bus (lent to us by a friend of the museum - thank you!) more than 50 people descended on Sterne's former home for a day of viewings, guided tours and conversation, followed by an evening of local cider and home-made curry at the village hall where a new documentary film, Making Nothing Happen, was premiered in the presence of its subject, the expatriate Czech artist and winner of the 2009 Northern Art Prize, Pavel Buchler. Two new information as material publications (The Perverse Library, by Prof. Craig Dworkin and Getting Inside Jack Kerouac's Head, by Simon Morris) were also launched on the night.
I could spend the next five minutes listing all the fascinating people I met at the event, but I won't. Instead, I will say that looking around throughout the day and seeing major artists, curators, collectors and the directors of national art institutions sharing cider and conversation with exhibition visitors, students and local people made me proud to be involved in a project that, despite the challenging and conceptual nature of its content, managed to remain totally welcoming to a truly diverse audience.
One name I will mention is Clive Phillpot, former director of the MoMa library, with whom I talked about a truly amazing project he co-curated at the Pompidou Centre, Paris. For Voids: A Retrospective, Phillot and his colleagues managed to make a successful case to the Pompidou to empty their galleries, in order to make space for the recreation of nine historic ‘empty’ art exhibitions, including Yves Klein’s legendary ‘The Void’. An epic achievement by any standards and totally relevant to The Perverse Library, an exhibition curated by a team interested in "works by artists who use extant material – selecting and reframing it in order to generate new meanings – and who, in doing so, disrupt the existing order of things."
Shortly after the exhibition I was invited by information as material to join their editorial board (to which I said YES PLEASE!), and shortly after that we were offered a yearlong residency at the Whitechapel Gallery in London (yes, it really is all down to my joining the board... honest!?). The programme for information as material's time as Writers in Residence will be announced at a launch event in London, on 28 April 2010. Tickets for the launch event can be booked online now.
I'll be posting the odd update about the residency, as well as the odd interview with the artists involved. So, as they say, watch this space...
All information as material publications, along with the new documentary film about Pavel Buchler are avaliable to buy from www.informationasmaterial.com