The Politics of Craft: After Ford 151
7 Feb - 8 Mar 2015
Preview Friday 6 February 6-8pm
'The Politics of Craft: After Ford 151' takes as its inspiration the notion of Arts & Crafts as a resistance movement and its evolution through modernism to become a cornerstone of how we understand the contemporary design object. 'The Politics of Craft: After Ford 151' is the story of the failure of the political ambitions of craft and design: utopian ambitions mixed with an uncomfortable relationship between machine, hand and economics. This exhibition developed by Grizedale Arts, engages with historical ideas relating to both mass mechanical reproduction and craft in order to encourage contemporary art and design to have a use. It presents Grizedale Arts’ own polticised history of design - a brave new world of objects and ideas that serve as a provocative reassessment of the Arts & Crafts legacy.
The title of the show references Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ which imagines a utopian future that defines itself through the machine age and dates itself to the birth of Henry Ford the inventor of the mechanised production line – Ford was born in 1863, hence in Huxley’s utopia it is now A.F. 151. The principle structure in the exhibition is a representation of the ceiling of St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross, interpreted by the GSA Mackintosh School of Architecture’s own Sutherland Hussey and a tribute to former tutors Isi Metzstein (1928-2012) and Andy MacMillan (1928-2014), the architects that originally created the building. The ruined St Peters has recently been bought by Scottish arts organisation NVA, who are in the process of re-imagining another utopia.
Grizedale Arts is a curatorial project in a continuous state of development, based in the historic site of Lawson Park farm above the Coniston valley in the lake district. The site is run as a productive small holding and working farm house, with an ongoing programme of events, projects, residencies and community activity which develops the contemporary arts in new directions, away from the romantic and Contemporary mindsets that have dominated the last 200 years of art history. Underpinning this programme is a philosophy that emphasises the use value of art, and promotes the functions of art and artists in practical and effective roles, as a central tenet of wider culture and society. This exhibition was first shown as part of Grizedale Art’s 15 years retrospective ‘The Nuisance of Landscape (2014)’. It Included work by over 200 artists that Grizedale has worked with over that period, including many of the UK’s most prominent including Jeremy Deller, Laure Provoust, Nathaniel Mellors, Emily Wardill, Liam Gillick as well as international figures including William Pope L, Jonathan Meese, Tania Bruguera, Olaf Breuning.
Curated by Jina Lee and Adam Sutherland.