Wednesday 17th October 2018, 5 – 8pm
For the first edition of the von Goetz Residency programme, three artists were welcomed to the Post_Institute in Brixton from 28th September to 17th October 2018. Coinciding with the busiest week in the London contemporary art calendar, with Frieze, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, The Sunday Art Fair, among others, opening their doors during the first week of October, Sola Olulode, Hannah Murgatroyd and Grant Foster were invited to produce and exhibit new pieces and studio works in the Post_Institute. Culminating in an “open studio” showcase, the residency aims to advance institutional possibilities for collaborative programming, providing extensive space in a central London location for periods at a time. Central to the Post_Institute’s ethos, von Goetz set out to think progressively about how to enable and further artistic practices, producing a more artist-led dialogue around how institutions operate and can facilitate the projects of artists and curators alike.
In the commedia dell’arte, character formulations are stretched to their nth power. They become not so much stereotypes (in their general sense), but become highly specific, detailed (de)constructions of professions, family members and love interests; the theatrical form becomes an analytical tool in this instance. To think of Grant Foster’s practice on these terms therefore, the motifs of his paintings and sculptures take on the mode of assemblage, not just of material but also of cultural referents, innuendo, art historical tropes, illustrative twists and symbolic totems. The narrative form and theatricality is woven into Foster’s work, the artist previously producing dark, tragi-comic texts that invert and abstract situations that pertain directly to social injustice, conflating art history with political-ethical critique. It is in this same vein that Foster’s recent sculptures have turned their attention to the aesthetics of protest, implementing text, banners, and placards as a means of political engagement. To cite Dear Tyrant, a text Foster wrote for his 2017 exhibition at Tintype Gallery, Ground, Figure, Sky: ‘Regardless of your occupations you never seem to question yourselves [...] I want you to close your eyes and actually really ask yourself if you believe in the things you’re saying?’ In the short letter-form note, formal logical, dogmatic, capitalistic rationality is called out – the failure to converse, priding competitive debate over roundabout discourse, flavours his placards and totems in this way: the commedia of Foster’s work is doubly narrated, at once refining and analysing the subjects and iconography of a social-cultural sphere as a cast of characters, whilst rendering and framing them as wholly compromised by their materiality.