“No One Tells Us What To Do”

19th November – 12th December 2010
Opening reception: 18th November 6pm9pm

Closing event: What Not To Do Next
Friday 10th December. 7.30pm. Informal artists discussion with stollen cake and mulled wine.

Jasper Joffe | Simeon Banner

‘No one tells us what to do’ is the slogan of the contemporary artist who is valued for, and values their independence above most other things. Of course, art schools, gallerists, the market and the artist’s bank balance, do exert pressure but nevertheless, the artist maintains credibility by appearing headstrong and motivated only by their individual vision.

The curatorial frame for this exhibition started with a conversation between Harriet Murray & Neil Taylor of Campbell Works, and an invitation to Jasper Joffe and Simeon Banner to collaborate on the project. Murray and Taylor asked Joffe and Banner to allow them unaccompanied access to the private world of their studio in order to select a body of work and hang it any way they chose without the artist’s involvement. The action of selecting and presenting an artists work, without their say, is mandatory if they are dead but for the breathing artist, it might sound like or even be, a living nightmare. 

Fast forward and several studio visits later, the unconscious influences and symbiotic nature of their co-habitation struck Murray and Taylor as the most fluorescent aspect of their practice. On the surface, these two painter’s imagery, and indeed their personal characters seem polar opposites, but the intimacies of their relationship (and the theft of each others paint) have created unforeseen alignments.

The moment an artwork leaves the studio, the artist by default, must loosen their grip on the control panel. While the authorship of the image remains intact, the frame of its presentation enters the slipstream of mediation, within the curatorial, contextual and promotional dimensions. Whether its press photos, catalogues, or Haywains on dinner plates, somehow a strong image seems like a perennial Phoenix, to survive it all.

Not wishing to coerce Joffe and Banner to join the string of ‘artists with two brains’, Murray and Taylor have fine-tuned the selection, edit and hang, to create the possibility for alternate narratives and meta-meanings within these otherwise unconnected paintings, uniting them for a moment of history as if it mattered not at all, who the artist was.          

For Joffe and Banner this process will allow a fresh editing of their work, and a chance to be told what to do for once. Being free can get boring, it’s almost the same as no-one caring. For Murray and Taylor, artists themselves, “No one tells us what to do” extends their research into the creative dynamics and social relations that exhibition frameworks create and gives them complete freedom in presenting other people’s art, creating a collaboration where giving up control shows confidence in the judgment of others, or at least hope that a fresh look might be worth a try. 

“No One Tells Us What To Do” is a unique opportunity to view rarely and never before shown work by Joffe and Banner. Campbell Works would like to thank Jasper Joffe and Simeon Banner for having the confidence and trust to leap into the unknown.

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