24 June–31 July 2011

A reprise of the 1964 ICA exhibition with some free replacements and omissions. An exhibition by Mathieu Copeland


Study for an Exhibition of Violence in Contemporary Arttook place at the ICA in London between 19 February - 26 March 1964. Planned "as part of a four month programme of lectures, films and demonstrations on the subject of Violence in Society, Nature and Art" the exhibition was made up almost entirely of photographic reproductions, rather than original works. 

The exhibition included reproductions of 237 works including Picasso, Tanguy, Van Gogh, Rivera, Balthus, Nash, Dix; as well as 30 original works by artists such as Bacon, Paolozzi, Ernst, Fontana and John Latham. Reproductions were presented on panels and categorised thematically by titles such as 'Violence Observed', 'Violence Imagined', 'Creative Violence: New Styles - New Conceptions', and 'Violence as a Weapon'.

In 1964 Study for an Exhibition... was groundbreaking and controversial, it toured extensively in the UK. Its final section 'Violence as Direct Expression' foresaw the destructive and auto-destructive actions that came to dominate the Happenings scene over the next years and would culminate, in London, with the Destruction in Art Symposium led by Gustav Metzger in September 1966. 

In April 2011 curator Mathieu Copeland included a photocopied 'bootleg' of the ICA exhibition in his group show Studies for an Exhibition at the David Roberts Art Foundation in Fitzrovia. Neither an homage nor a critique of the original exhibition but rather an abuse and a leveling of artworks and their reproductions, this bootleg - with free omissions and replacements, is now temporarily housed at Flat Time House. Alongside are presented what could be seen as a study of violence in music and a continuous screening on a number of monitors of a growing play list of online material compiled in the same spirit as our exhibition: taking an ICA screening programme of 27 February 1964 as a starting point. 'Films of Action and Violence in Painting' included films of Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon and Karel Appel at work. These are now part of a growing polyphony of material, copies gathered wherever available.

The ICA published a slim catalogue with a Foreword by the Director and curator of the exhibition Roland Penrose and the check list of works (in reproduction and original). During the course of the exhibition at Flat Time House, through further events and dialogue, we will envisage what another catalogue for the exhibition could, and should, be. 


Mathieu Copeland (b. 1977, lives in London) has been developing a practice seeking to subvert the traditional role of exhibitions and to renew our perceptions. Amongst others, he co-curated the exhibition VOIDS, A Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and at the Kunsthalle in Bern and curated A Choreographed Exhibition at the Kunsthalle St Gallen & Ferme du Buisson, Soundtrack for an Exhibition at the Musee d'Art Contemporain Lyon, and initiated the series A Spoken Word Exhibitions and An Exhibition to Hear Read.

Films of Action and Violence in Art 

Salvador Dali & Luis Bunuel 

Kurt Schwitters 

Jackson Pollock 

Francis Bacon 

Saburo Murakami

Karel Appel 

Asger Jorn

Georges Mathieu 

Niki de Saint Phalle

Jean Tinguely 

Lucio Fontana

Yves Klein


Guy Debord 

Henri Michaux 

Andy Warhol 

Yoko Ono 

David Hockney 

Nam June Paik (by Sonic Youth)

Herman Nitsch 

Otto Muehl 


Valie Export

Joseph Beuys

Chris Burden

Steven Parrino 

Kembra Pfhaler 

Richard Kern 

Nick Zed 

Romain Gavras

Suicide's Frankie Teardrop

Davide Balula Smashed Mosquito (2011) Courtesy the artist. (STUDIES FOR A CATALOGUE: 4)

Davide Balula Smashed Mosquito (2011) Courtesy the artist.

Giorgio Sadotti WRONG (MY YOUR) (2007) Courtesy the artist (STUDIES FOR A CATALOGUE: 5)

Giorgio Sadotti WRONG (MY YOUR) (2007) Courtesy the artist

Philippe Decrauzat OTO (2011) Courtesy the artist (STUDIES FOR A CATALOGUE: 6)

Philippe Decrauzat OTO (2011) Courtesy the artist

Erica Baum untitled (Executioners) (1998) Courtesy the artist. (STUDIES FOR A CATALOGUE: 7)

Erica Baum untitled (Executioners) (1998) Courtesy the artist.


We will launch the Studies for a catalogue publication, featuring work by Emma Bjornesparr, Elena Bajo, Neal White, Tom Benson, Philomene Pirecki, Stefan Bruggemann, Philippe Decrauzat, Warren Neidich, Pablo Leon de la Barra, Mark McGowan, Charlotte Moth & Peter Fillingham, Mari Alessandrini, Anne-Sylvie Henchoz, Giorgio Sadotti, Davide Ballula, Erica Baum and more on Sunday 31 July from 2 - 6pm. 

Throughout the afternoon there will be music playlists contributed by Joel Vacheron, Francis Baudevin and others. And at 5pm Shelley Parker will present a performance devised specially for the exhibition. Shelley Parker is a London based DJ/artist working with sound/music/image.

Stefan Bruggemann THIS WORK IS REALIZED WHEN IT IS DESTROYED (2011)  Courtesy the artist (STUDIES FOR A CATALOGUE: 9)

Stefan Bruggemann THIS WORK IS REALIZED WHEN IT IS DESTROYED (2011) Courtesy the artist