British Modern Remade is an exhibition of painting, sculpture, collage and film from the Arts Council Collection, taking place within the refurbished show apartments at Park Hill in Sheffield during the summer of 2012. The works featured span the six decades since the founding of the collection in 1946. This exhibition seeks to examine the anxieties and allure of British Modernism as typified by Park Hill itself and key artworks from the 1940s to the present day. Contemporary artists and designers are returning to Modernism and commandeering it with an uncanny resemblance. The signs and symbols remain intact, so what of the ideology?
It is the second project to take place as a result of Select.ac – the Arts Council Collection’s curatorial competition for postgraduate students designed to nurture the next generation of curators in the UK. The winning proposal was from Helen Kaplinsky, a student who graduated last year from the MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths College, London. It takes place on the ground floor and flats 32 and 33 Norwich Street (12th floor)
Park Hill Estate, Sheffield
British Modern Remade is an exhibition of key works drawn from the Arts Council Collection, the largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art in the world, taking place in two show flats at the newly redeveloped Park Hill housing estate in Sheffield. The commercial and domestic setting for the Modern, postmodern and contemporary artworks underline the historical tie in Britain between style, visual art, decorative design and the hand-crafted quality of the artworks hark back to a British Arts and Crafts tradition whose ethic returned to Britain during the height of Modernism via Bauhaus. The artworks act as indicators of style and glamour in an aspirational domestic environment. Horror appears as a symptom of our uncanny relationship with style, in which something ‘out of style’ can be seen as oppositional.
Tracing the meeting of decorative and visual arts in Britain back to the advent of the collection in 1946, early works by Kenneth Armitage, Lynn Chadwick and Kenneth Martin now displayed at Park Hill were featured in some of the first Arts Council Collection exhibitions of the 1940s and 1950s. The series called ‘Sculpture in the Home’ encouraged the purchase of small scale sculptures befitting the home. The twentieth century ended more than a decade ago however the designs of the so-called Modern century still have currency today, reproduced in retro style fashion and reconsidered with a sense of longing and distanced irony by contemporary artists.
Helen Kaplinsky said: “Working with a collection which holds the most influential modern and contemporary British artists is a privilege and the context of the redeveloped Park Hill gives the question of what constitutes British Modernism urgency. The commercial and domestic setting for the Modern, postmodern and contemporary artworks underline the historical tie in Britain between style, visual art and decorative design. The artworks act as indicators of style and glamour in an aspirational domestic environment. It has been a pleasure to work in Sheffield, a fascinating city, and I hope visitors enjoy the stories of the artworks and the building as much I have in making the exhibition.”
A large scale installation by Brian Griffiths consisting of antiquated super-computer fabricated from cardboard and plastic bottle caps will be sited on the ground floor and viewable from outside, forming a prop-like control centre for Park Hill, which is currently undergoing regeneration.
Artists featured in the exhibition include Robert Adams, Kenneth Armitage, Martin Boyce, John Carter, Lynn Chadwick, Keith Coventry, Alexandre da Cunha, Richard Forbes, Naum Gabo, Alan Green, Brian Griffiths, Robert Holyhead, Gareth Jones, Andrew Logan, Camilla Løw, Kenneth and Mary Martin, Simon Martin, Margaret Mellis, Bernard Meadows, and Toby Paterson, Susan Tebby, Joe Tilson, William Turnbull and Paule Vézelay .
Photo: © the artist. Robert Adams, Collage, 1953
Ground floor and flats 32 and 33 Norwich Street (12th floor)
Park Hill estate
Exhibition continues until 16 June 2012
Open Tuesday- Saturday, 1pm – 5pm