n. pl. cor·po·ra (-pr-)
1. A large collection of writings of a specific kind or on a specific subject.
2. A collection of writings or recorded remarks used for linguistic analysis.
3. The main part of a bodily structure or organ.
//Reviews of art. Art and language. Art and the body.
27/04/15 Interview: Bryan Kneale Bryan Kneale: Five Decades Pangolin London 25 March – 2 May 2015
Bryan Kneale RA (b1930) was born
and grew up on the Isle of Man, where, in the postwar years, art books were not
easy to get hold of, but the library had volumes of the then Studio magazine,
which he used to pore over and draw inspiration from. His ideas come from
everywhere, though: in particular, Kneale recalls a lump of shrapnel from a
German bomb that his father brought home for him when he was bedridden with
whooping cough. This story, which Kneale told us at Pangolin London, where he
is currently showing five decades of his work in a mini-retrospective, is
expanded on in the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition.
Full of tales, Kneale also talks about his
unconventional ways of working with metal and forming new shapes. Elected a
Royal Academician in 1974 (after being made an Associate in 1970), Kneale
famously accepted the honour only on condition that he could mount an
exhibition – the Academy’s first – of abstract sculpture. Including the work of 24 sculptors active in the
UK at the time, it has since been described as “the most groundbreaking exhibition of contemporary sculpture held in
Kneale originally trained as a painter, studying first at Douglas School of Art and then
at the Royal Academy Schools from 1948 to 1952. Today, alongside sculpting, he
also draws, and some of his works on paper are included in this exhibition.
Despite suffering a serious stroke two years ago, Kneale continues to make work
– albeit with a little help where necessary – and his ideas haven’t dwindled at
all. Nor has his wry sense of humour. He began by telling Studio International
about the risk of death by sculpture …
This was supposed to be a small but
fascinating celebration of the 60th anniversary of Francis Bacon’s first exhibition at the ICA.Instead,
the business of curating the show became for Gregor Muir, the ICA director, a
mystery of the disappearing archive. “I
had hoped to show installation shots, I had hoped to show photos of Bacon at
the ICA, and I had hoped to present a room in which I could show what the exhibition
looked like,” he explains, “but that was, in the end, impossible.”
For whatever reason, there is
scarcely any documentation of the 1955 exhibition.Muir
scoured the ICA archives from the time, now held at Tate, but all he could find
was a test print of an invitation card (through sheer luck, he later chanced on
an actual card in a nearby bookshop); the press release; a list of works; and
one photograph of an ICA employee standing in front of one of the works,
hanging in the then Dover Street Market premises.
Essay on mental health, photography and the work of Daniel Regan
Living with mental health issues is not easy. First, there
is the struggle with the issues themselves, then there is the stigma attached.
Society, in its general ignorance, has a fear of certain diagnoses – certain
labels – and, as a result, many of us hide our struggles in shame. Feeling
alone, feeling isolated, feeling like no one else could ever possibly feel – or
do – as you do, let alone understand, is shaming – and shame is nothing if not
Recently, with the opening of the newly renovated Bethlem
Gallery, I saw some work which shook me – shook me in a positive way – because,
in it, I recognised my own behaviours, my own coping (or non-coping)
mechanisms, my own shame. The relief of such cataclysmic moments, when, through
looking at art, I am reminded that, actually, I am not alone, is always immense. Since this day, a few weeks back, I
have been looking around for more artists whose work touches upon mental health
and I was happily reminded of photographer Daniel Regan, whom I first met just
over a year ago. Looking at Daniel’s work – as I have been in earnest this past
week – has opened more doors to self-recognition, to feeling less alone, to a
sense of hope, and to a pride – a pride in Daniel for being ‘one of us’ who is
willing to speak out, to reach out, and, who, by empowering himself, empowers
This essay was commissioned by Photoworks as part of their What Are You Looking At? ideas series.
Shirin Neshat: The
Home of My Eyes Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan 23 March - 23 June 2015
Shirin Neshat, who was born in Iran in 1957, became internationally
recognised in 1999 when her film Turbulent (1998) won the international prize
at the Venice Biennale. The two-channel black-and-white film made a stark
comment on the inequality of gender roles and the invisibility of women in
Middle Eastern culture, using the medium of ancient Persian music and poetry.
Poetry also often features in her still photographic works, inscribed on the
portraits in beautiful calligraphy.
For the opening of the YaratContemporary
Art Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, Neshat has produced a new body of work, The
Home of My Eyes, comprising 55 monochromatic portraits of local Azeri people,
each overlaid with a mixture of Persian poetry and the subject’s own answers to
four key questions:
• What does home mean to you?
• If you had to define an image of Azerbaijan, what would it be?
• What makes you most proud of being Azeri?
• What is your favourite celebration?
The works are hung on the two facing walls of the imposing 11-metre-high
gallery in a converted Soviet-era naval building. Neshat describes the
commission as a “portrait of the country” – a country that has only been in
existence since 1991, when it gained independence from the Soviet Union, and borders
on to her own native homeland, to which she has not returned since 1996.