25 August 2009 – 6 September 2009
‘Repetition demands the new […] insofar as it characterises ‘the same’ as lacking.’
Catherine Russell, Narrative Morality, 1994
The New Obsolete is an exhibition curated by the M.A. Contemporary Art, Graphic Design and Curating course, at Leeds Metropolitan University, to be hosted at a series of venues to be determined during 2009-2010. The project is reflected in various representations and staged events, from gallery to photographic studio, warehouse space to museum; and in the documentation produced in forms of publication and through the signature of its advertising.
The New Obsolete constitutes a part of the M.A programme of collaborations in art design and curating. It seeks to address the range of ideas in the current resurgence of interrogative approaches to the idea of the ‘new’ affixed to the question of a remainder.
The show seeks to criticise the mode of an address, from the construct of the group show as alternating between both ‘new’ and ‘obsolete’ values. Accommodating the criticism of consensual decision-making as symptomatic of an outdated ‘democratic liberalism’, The New Obsolete is rephrased, and argues, through the process of agonistic pluralism.
Whilst reflexively critical of the limits of the express independence of individual works form others in the process of arbitrary selection and in the convention of display, it is nevertheless held up as an endeavor undertaken by young artists and designers, amidst the ruins of marketability, of a new generation.
The argumentation of the group, superimposed individual ‘new’ practices intentionally in ‘obsolete’ languages, and ‘retro’ styles, is reconfigured through a number of genres and idioms at odds with their accustomed definitions. The pluriform condition of language and material is here set up as a ‘dispositif’ to announce irreconcilability within the exhibition’s formal structures.
The term ‘dispositif’ was originally used by Jean-Francois Lyotard, to describe a theatre of devises, or as the libidinal ‘set-up’ of an arrangement of social positions and interactions, in The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, 1984. Michel Foucault also used the term ‘dispostif’, as ‘deployment’, or ‘apparatus’ to refer to the various institutional, physical and administrative mechanisms and knowledge structures, which enhance and maintain the exercise of power within the social body.
The design of The New Obsolete, taking the variegated material together as overlapping categories of publication and documentation, intersects the projects with extra-referential texts, interviews and quotations, presenting itself as an apparatus or device both within and beyond the exhibition. These design strategies are staged ‘mis-en-abyme’, that is, as a framework of reading within a framework of seeing. They are designated as curatorial in being more that just a commentary on the state of play in the arrangements of works selected form a single point, acknowledging, in the metaphor of frames and devices, the dependence on the border conditions in which young artists and designers are themselves framed and obliged to work strategically within.
Eoin Shea. Michael Burkitt. Ingrid Opstad. Carl Allport. Rupert Clamp. Ashley Dean
Marion Harrison, James Hubble. Lucy Velvick. David Motchmen. Darron Mohammed.
Tamara Seabrook. Jelena Zindovic. Liz Harbottle. Stephanie Carr. Mark D’Emidio.
Exhibition Held at:
Artwars Project Space
23-25 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ