John Latham: Now Forget Everything You Ever Knew
Preview on Zoom: Thursday 1 October 2020, 4pm BST – Sign up here
Exhibition continues: www.chelseaspace.org
This autumn, Chelsea Space is delighted to present John Latham: Now Forget Everything You Ever Knew, an online exhibition that starts from an untitled, undated poem written by John Latham. This exhibition is a collaboration between MA Curating and Collections (Chelsea College of Arts, UAL) and Flat Time House (a London landmark that was declared a Living Sculpture in 2003). The show stems from extensive research of John Latham’s archival material supervised by Flat Time House Director and Curator Gareth Bell-Jones.
Latham’s elusive text speaks to a process of unlearning, through an exploration of language that attempts to interrogate received knowledge. In correspondence with such ideas, Ifeanyi Awachie, Anna Barham and Noa Latham have been invited to respond to John Latham’s writing through the lens of poetics, time and politics.
The exhibition, John Latham: Now Forget Everything You Ever Knew presents the poem’s archival document in an interactive pdf format. Through distinct hyperlinked words and punctuation (‘became’, ‘-’, ‘different’) across the text, viewers will be directed to contributions by the invited participants.
Curator Ifeanyi Awachie will present on the political significance of the ambiguous poem. Known for her enthusiasm for progressive Black and African representation through storytelling and programming, she has drawn on some rich associations as she references music, theory and fiction within her audio recording. As the author of Noit 4 - Reflections (2018), a journal that elaborates on Latham’s life and ideas, his son and professor in philosophy at University of Calgary, Noa Latham, will expound on the temporal and philosophical implications of his father’s words in relation to the artist’s time-based concepts. The artist Anna Barham, whose practice revolves around language, punctuation and interpretation, will expand on the poem’s linguistic relevance. Having worked with Latham’s archive in the past, she has contributed Now Forget Next to Get, a scoring of the versions of Latham’s untitled poem produced during her ‘live production reading group’ event at Flat Time House in 2017, in which she undertook experimentation on reshaping language.
Through this methodology the exhibition considers the ways in which language contributes to the dismantling of certain received knowledge, and how the politics of forgetting might be instructive for anti- racist discourse and wide-spread practices of decolonisation; to consolidate and recontextualise our histories; to embrace our intuition as Incidental Persons. Coined by Latham, the ‘Incidental Person’ is able to critically reflect from a distance and respond to social and political situations through their intuition. The curatorial approach is based on a careful consideration of the artist’s ideas and works throughout his years. John Latham: Now Forget Everything You Ever Knew marks the second time John Latham, a pioneer of British conceptual art, is the focus of an exhibition at Chelsea Space.
John Latham (1921-2006) was a British conceptual artist and Chelsea College of Arts graduate (1947- 1951). With a career spanning more than fifty years, he made significant contributions to contemporary art, blending science, art and philosophy. Latham has had numerous international exhibitions at institutions including the Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (2017); Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1973); Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany (1975); P.S.1. Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY, USA (2006). Latham's work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate Gallery, London. He was the subject of a solo show at Tate Britain in London (2005).
This exhibition was made possible by the support of the Director and trustees of Flat Time House.
Flat Time House (FTHo) was the studio home of John Latham (1921-2006), recognised as one of the most significant and influential British post-war artists. In 2003, Latham declared the house a living sculpture, naming it FTHo after his theory of time, ‘Flat Time’. Until his death, Latham opened his door to anyone interested in thinking about art. It is in this spirit that Flat Time House opened in 2008 as a gallery with a programme of exhibitions and events exploring the artist's practice, his theoretical ideas and their continued relevance. It also provides a centre for alternative learning, which includes the John Latham Archive, an artist's residency space, and the academic journal NOIT.
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