Phyllida Barlow, Bram Bogart, John Latham, Grace Ndiritu and Antoni Tàpies
10 March–10 April 2022 Preview Day Thursday 10 March 12–8pm
Untitled, 1956 is the first of an ambitious trilogy of exhibitions produced in collaboration between Flat Time House (FTHo) and the Roberts Institute of Art (RIA). Each exhibition explores a different facet of the complex network of ideas and relationships surrounding John Latham’s work in dialogue with important works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection. Throughout his life, Latham was relentlessly experimental in his choice of medium, rapidly moving between materials yet always applying a rich symbolism to his use of each. This first exhibition brings together a key early piece by Latham, Untitled, 1956, with impressive works by Phyllida Barlow, Bram Bogart and Antoni Tàpies, which share with Latham an intuitive investigation into material quality, presented alongside a new commission by Grace Ndiritu.
Alongside the three exhibitions, each taking its name from the key Latham work they contain, FTHo and RIA are commissioning an artist to produce a new performative work in response. Untitled, 1956 will present Grace Ndiritu’s commissioned carpet which incorporates a found image of a 1975 Artist Placement Group meeting. Alongside this will be documentation of new and existing performative works by Ndiritu including a live event entitled Event Structure: Holistic Reading Room (2022) which will take place at FTHo before the exhibition opening. Ndiritu’s intervention seeks to transform notions of group experiments from history to the present day through social practice. This commission reveals a resonance between her practice and Latham’s lifelong aim to bring reflective and intuitive modes of thinking to wider society – most clearly manifested in his work with the Artist Placement Group, a pioneering organisation that negotiated placements for artists within industry and government.
For each exhibition we have invited a writer to produce a newly commissioned exhibition text. For Untitled, 1956 we have invited Ifeanyi Awachie to respond to the works in the exhibition and Ndiritu's commission.
For Event Structure: Holistic Reading Room on Sunday 6 March 2–4pm, Grace Ndiritu will lead a group reading of John Latham's text Event Structure, which focuses on ‘Deep Time’ and group work. The reading will be interspersed by silent meditation breaks led by Ndiritu.
The second exhibition in the trilogy Red, Green and Yellow (28 April–29 May) features works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection by John Latham, Liliane Lijn, Tim Head, Bob Law and Wolfgang Tillmans in an installation conceived by Berlin-based artist Julius Heinemann. The minimal and conceptual works in this presentation experiment with pure form, resonating with Latham’s belief in reflective and intuitive modes of working. The third and final exhibition, Gone Fishing (16 June–17 July), features work by John Latham, Boyle Family and Marlie Mul with a new audio commission by London-based artist Damien Roach under the umbrella of his cross-media project, patten. Latham and Boyle Family were pioneers in understanding sculpture as conceptual art and central participants in the cross-pollination of popular culture and the avant-garde.
An accompanying publication produced by FTHo and RIA with newly commissioned texts will be launched in June 2022.
This new collaboration between Flat Time House (FTHo) and the Roberts Institute of Art (RIA) takes as a starting point prominent John Latham works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection. The partnership, presented at FTHo, explores ideas in Latham’s work through performance-based commissions and a selection of key works from the Collection. 2021 was the centenary year of John Latham’s birth, and this three-part presentation has developed from a conversation between RIA and FTHo around finding new perspectives on Latham’s work through a dialogue between the David and Indrė Roberts Collection and the John Latham archive.
Grace Ndiritu is a British-Kenyan artist whose artworks are concerned with the transformation of our contemporary world. Works including The Ark: Center for Interdisciplinary Experimentation; COVERSLUT© fashion and economic project; and performance art series, Healing The Museum, have been shown around the world since 2012. Recently, her debut short film Black Beauty has been selected for prestigious film festivals including 72nd Berlinale in the Forum Expanded section (2022) and 32nd FID Marseille (2021). Ndiritu has been featured in TIME magazine, Phaidon’s The 21st Century Art Book, BOMB magazine, Art Monthly and Elephant magazine. Her work is housed in museum collections such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The British Council and The Modern Art Museum (Warsaw). Her writing has been published in her critical theory book Dissent Without Modification (Bergen Kunsthall) in 2021; The Whitechapel Gallery in the Documents of Contemporary Art anthology series; Animal Shelter Journal, Semiotext(e) The MIT Press; Metropolis M; and The Oxford University Press.
The Roberts Institute of Art (RIA) is a non-profit contemporary arts organisation. RIA commissions pioneering performance art, collaborates with national partners on exhibitions and works to research and share the David and Indrė Roberts Collection. David Roberts founded the organisation in 2007 and since then RIA has welcomed over 135,000 visitors, partnered with over 100 museums and organisations and collaborated with over 1,000 artists. Through an interdisciplinary approach, RIA seeks to respond and adapt to different contexts, aiming to open up new conversations about how we engage with culture.
Exhibition supported by Arts Council England, Henry Moore Foundation and The John Latham Foundation
Left: Bram Bogart Blanc Tombant, 1959 Courtesy the David and Indrė Roberts Collection Right: Grace Ndiritu Event Structure: Holistic Reading Room, 2022. Video, 7 minutes 31 seconds. Part of the series Healing The Museum. Performance at Flat Time House, March 2022. Co-commissioned by Flat Time House and the Roberts Institute of Art.
Phyllida Barlow Untitled: disaster 5, 2010 Courtesy the David and Indrė Roberts Collection.
Grace Ndiritu Holotropic Breathing for the Masses, 2015. HD Video, Colour, 15 minutes 22 seconds. Performed 2015. Filmed inside burned out Mackintosh Building, Glasgow. Commission by Glasgow School of Art.
Antoni Tàpies Nuats (Knotted), 2003 Courtesy the David and Indrė Roberts Collection. Grace Ndiritu Protest Carpet: Event Structure, 2022. Printed woven textiles incorporating a found image of Artist Placement Group’s 'The Sculpture' installation, with participants: A discussion between German Industrialists and APG including John Latham and Barbara Steveni with UK industrialist representatives from ICI, British Steel and English Electric at Between 6, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 15–17 June 1971. © APG. Photo: Tate. Co-commissioned by Flat Time House and the Roberts Institute of Art. John Latham Untitled, 1956 Spray paint and emulsion on hardboard. Courtesy the David and Indrė Roberts Collection.
Grace Ndiritu Protest Carpet: Event Structure, 2022. Printed woven textiles incorporating a found image of Artist Placement Group’s 'The Sculpture' installation, with participants: A discussion between German Industrialists and APG including John Latham and Barbara Steveni with UK industrialist representatives from ICI, British Steel and English Electric at Between 6, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 15–17 June 1971. © APG. Photo: Tate. Co-commissioned by Flat Time House and the Roberts Institute of Art.
Grace Ndiritu A Therapeutic Townhall Meeting: Healing The Museum, 2016. HD Video, Colour, presented without sound. 7 minutes, 01 seconds. Performed June 2016. Commission by Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers Paris.
John Latham Untitled, 1956 Spray paint and emulsion on hardboard. Courtesy the David and Indrė Roberts Collection.
All images: Melanie Issaka, Plastiques Photography