The Arts Council Collection, the UK’s largest loan collection of modern and contemporary art, has unveiled the list of works acquired for the nation for 2018-19. Five of the artists are from UAL staff, researchers and alumni, representing 25 out of the 59 pieces of work.
Spanning video, photography, performance, installation, painting, computer animation and sculpture, works from the collection are lent to galleries and public institutions throughout the country. In 2018-19, 1,652 works from the Collection were shown in 126 different galleries and museums across the UK and internationally, reaching an audience of over 2.8 million people.
The Collection has acquired several performance-based video works this year – they include two works by Susan Pui San Lok, artist and researcher for the Black Artists and Modernism project led by UAL and Middlesex University whose work weaves critical feminist and postcolonial theory into familiar visual, aural and spatial cues: Trailers (RoCH Fans and Legends) 2015, a four minute digital video featuring martial arts fight sequences intercut with spinning scenes from Google Street View; and RoCH Fan 2015, a concertina multiple.
UAL Researcher and Professor for MA Fine Art & Printmaking at Camberwell College of Arts, Paul Coldwell has also been selected, for his works A Mapping in White, 2013 and What Remains – Possessions, 2015. Paul said:
“I’m delighted to be included in the exhibition The Printed Line, which shows some of the wonderful prints from the Arts Council Collection. Working on the film with Brian Hodgson & Paul Atkins in the workshops at Camberwell was great fun and this film will accompany the exhibition as it tours over the next two years.”
The Collection supports artists from a broad age spectrum and has acquired Untitled (1976) by Central Saint Martins alumna Gillian Lowndes, who sadly passed away in 2010. Untitled was made at an important period in Lowndes career in which she began to use hand-building processes to construct intricate, basket-like ceramic works.
Nine works by Chelsea College of Arts alumnus John Walter from his project CAPSID (2018–19) have also been acquired. A collaboration with molecular virologist Professor Greg Towers of University College London, this project aims to bring new scientific knowledge about viral capsids to the attention of the wider public and addresses the crisis of representation surrounding viruses such as HIV.
The Collection has acquired three pieces from Central Saint Martins alumnus Dawn Mellor, whose work deals with sexuality and violence and explores the intricacies of fame, identity and politics through her painted portraits. Her works made in 2013: Chief Financial Officer (Bette Davis), Museum Director (Judith Anderson) and Front Desk Manager (Whoopi Goldberg), which interrogate how mass-media figures are depicted and the way they are interpreted and understood.
Image shows work by: susan pui san lok, RoCH Fan, 2015, concertina multiple, edition of 200, 8415mm x 102mm x 187mm (detail). Photo by Marc Atkinson.