Not an Archive presents three new commissions from emerging contemporary artists Kobby Adi, Celia-Yunior and Suzanne van der Lingen, responding to the dispersed and ephemeral history of New Contemporaries, at Primary, Nottingham, from 31 October to 23 November 2019.
Established in 1949, New Contemporaries is a platform for graduating artists that stretches over seven decades. To date, it has come to be one of the most prominent exhibitions for new artists within the UK and has supported the launch of thousands of new artists, many of whom have become synonymous with contemporary British Art, from David Hockney to Rachel MacLean. The artists’ work for Not an Archive explores this daunting transition for artists moving from education to the professional arena, as well as looking at the shortfalls in recording this period. As a continually roving programme, the history of New Contemporaries, and its narrative, are equally hard to pin down.
Piecing together fragments from this missing history, duo Celia-Yunior reflect on the pressures of competing in an ever more complex and populated field, while Suzanne van der Lingen examines the fragmented archival documentation, which echoes the dispersal of these ‘new contemporaries’ within the larger matrix of the arts movement in Britain. Meanwhile, Kobby Adi, who was selected by Keith Piper for the 2019 exhibition, follows Piper through his archives from his participation as a ‘new contemporary’ in 1986. Together, their work explores the lure of the archive, as compelling – and, at times, as opaque – as New Contemporaries itself.
The exhibition previews on Thursday 31 October from 6-9pm, and continues to Saturday 23 November, open Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
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