Wednesday 24 September 2014

Group Material / Collective Investigations

In 2010, at the Frieze Art Fair I attended an excellent talk by Julie Ault, one of the founding members of the art collective Group Material. Although l hadn't come across the group before, it was fascinating to hear about the projects they were involved in and the importance of their legacy.

One thing that stuck with me was the way that this ever-changing group of artists seemed to produce such a large body of work with an incredible reach.

The reason the talk came to mind was because Egidija, George and I have been meeting together as Collective Investigations for two years now and the milestone made me reflect on the experience of working as a group.

Detail of window from exhibition at the bookartbookshop.

As with Group Material I feel like Collective Investigations has reached further than we might have on our own. During this past two years we have published a huge artists' book, made and exhibited new art, held public workshops, given a talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum and been selected to have a table at Kaleid. I'm looking forward to the next things on the horizon. For me this work ethic has spilled over into my own individual practice, which also seems to be flourishing.

Workshop materials.

A couple of years ago I came across the book 'Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material', which was released by Ault at the time of the Frieze talk. The thing that came across most strongly from the book was the bureaucracy and the systems that the group put in place to make the whole thing work. It seemed quite a contrast to the talk, as it exposed the extensive, but unseen machinery behind the art. What's interesting to me now (after working as part of a collective myself for two years) is that without regular meetings, talks about finance, long term plans etc, the group wouldn't have had the time, space or energy to create and to make such thoughtful and engaging artworks.

Book: Codex Between This and That


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