The Place is Here – Nottingham Contemporary

1 February 2017
From 'Autoportrait' 1990

04 Feb 2017 – 30 Apr 2017

A very rare chance to see the original photographic prints produced by Joy Gregory for the 1990’s Autoportrait series. These were initially produced for an exhibition of the same name. This show opened at Camerawork on Roman Road before going on an extensive international tour.  Autoportrait was curated at  Autograph by Sunil Gupta and Monika Baker.

The starting-point for this exhibition is a pivotal decade for British culture
and politics: the 1980s. Spanning painting, sculpture, photography, film
and archives, The Place Is Here brings together a wide range of works by
more than 30 artists and collectives. The questions they ask – about
identity, representation and what culture is for – remain vital today.
In 1982, a group of artists and thinkers met in Wolverhampton at the the
First National Black Art Convention, to discuss the ‘form, future and
function of Black Artʼ. Two years later, the second ‘working conventionʼ
took place here in Nottingham. What constitutes ‘black artʼ, or the ‘Black
Arts Movementʼ was, and continues to be, heavily contested.
This exhibition traces some of the urgent conversations that were taking
place between black artists, writers and thinkers during the 80s. Against a
backdrop of civil unrest and divisive national politics, they were exploring
their relationship to Britainʼs colonial past as well as to art history. Many
artists were looking to the Civil Rights movement in America, Black
feminism, Pan-Africanism, the struggle over apartheid, and the emergent
fields of postcolonial and cultural studies.
The Place Is Here does not present a chronological survey. Instead, it is
conceived as a kind of montage. For many of these artists, montage
allowed for identities, histories and narratives to be dismantled and
reconfigured according to new terms. The exhibition assembles different
positions, voices and media to present a shifting portrait of a decade
while refusing to pin it down. The presentation is structured around four
overlapping groupings, each of which is titled after a work on display:
Signs of Empire; We Will Be; The Peopleʼs Account; and Convenience Not
Selected Press:
The Art Newspaper, Jan 2017
“We were dealing with an invisibility, trying to get ourselves seen, trying to
get ourselves shown. (Lubaina Himid)” – Louisa Buck. More >>
Apollo, 17 Jan 2017
“In 1970s Britain you rarely saw black people on the television, or in
newspapers. (Lubaina Himid)” – Imedla Barnard. More >>
Guardian, 18 Jan 2017
“I was trying to make places and spaces where we could see ourselves,
but also where we could be seen. (Lubaina Himid)” – Hettie Judah. More
The Observer, 22 Jan 2017
“Himid describes herself as more “a political startegist using visual
language” than “a painter in the strictest sense.”” – Laura Cumming. More
Artnet, 24 Jan 2017
“Himid’s message feels as fresh and as urgent as it was in the 1980s,
when she first gained critical notoriety.” Lizzie Lloyd. More >>
Artists include: Said Adrus, John Akomfrah, Rasheed Araeen, Martina
Attille, David A. Bailey, Sutapa Biswas, Zarina Bhimji, Black Audio Film
Collective, Sonia Boyce, Vanley Burke, Ceddo, Eddie Chambers, Rotimi
Fani-Kayode, Joy Gregory, Sunil Gupta, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid,
Gavin Jantjes, Claudette Johnson, Isaac Julien, Chila Kumari Burman,
Dave Lewis, Mowbray Odonkor, Pratibha Parmar, Maybelle Peters, Keith
Piper, Ingrid Pollard, Donald Rodney, Veronica Ryan, Marlene Smith, Maud
Archives: Blk Art Group Research Project, African-Caribbean, Asian &
African Art in Britain Archive (Chelsea College of Arts Library, University of
the Arts), The June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive (including films by
Imruh Bakari, Ceddo, Amani Naphtali and Maybelle Peters), Making
Histories Visible Archive (Centre of Contemporary Art at the University of
Central Lancashire), The Stuart Hall Library, Iniva (Institute of International
Visual Arts), London.
The Place Is Here is curated by Nick Aikens and Sam Thorne, with Nicola
Guy. The exhibition is an expanded version of a presentation Aikens
curated at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, in 2016, titled Thinking
Back: A Montage of Black Art in Britain. Archival displays are curated in
collaboration with Vanley Burke, June Givanni, Lubaina Himid, Claudette
Johnson, Keith Piper and Marlene Smith.
The exhibition, as well as an extensive public engagement programme, is
supported by Arts Council Englandʼs Strategic Touring programme, a
collaboration with Modern Art Oxford, Spike Island, Bristol, the Harris
Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, and firstsite in Colchester. The
engagement programme will examine race, gender and social justice.
A selection from the exhibition will also be touring to Middlesbrough
Institute of Modern Art later in the year.