The ICA supports radical art and culture. Through a vibrant programme of exhibitions, films, events, talks and debates, the ICA challenges perceived notions and stimulates debate, experimentation, creativity and exchange with visitors.
Founded in 1946 by a group of artists including Roland Penrose, Peter Watson and Herbert Read, the ICA continues to support living artists in showing and exploring their work, often as it emerges and before others. The ICA has been at the forefront of cultural experimentation since its formation and has presented important debut solo shows by artists including Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen, Richard Prince and Luc Tuymans. More recently Pablo Bronstein, Lis Rhodes, Bjarne Melgaard and Juergen Teller have all staged key solo exhibitions, whilst a new generation of artists, including Luke Fowler, Lucky PDF, Hannah Sawtell and Factory Floor have taken part in exhibitions and residencies.
The ICA was one of the first venues to present The Clash and The Smiths, as well as bands such as Throbbing Gristle. The inaugural ICA / LUX Biennial of Moving Images was launched in 2012, and the ICA Cinema continues to screen rare artists' film, support independent releases and partner with leading film festivals.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 11pm.
Exhibitions are open 11am – 6pm, except Thursday, 11am – 9pm.
Entry to the ICA is with Day Membership, set at £1. Day Membership includes access to art exhibitions and displays, as well as use of facilities such as the café bar and free wifi.
Isa Genzken: Basic Research Paintings
- 1 July — 6 September 2015 *on now
Isa Genzken is one of the most important and influential artists of the last forty years. Since the early 1970s, Genzken has developed an extraordinary practice as evidenced through museum shows such as her recent retrospective at MoMA, New York. Increasingly ambitious displays of the artist’s work have tended toward a focus on large-scale sculptures, installations and impressive wall mounted panel works. Lesser known are her paintings.
Having experimented with a variety of different materials and art forms, to include assemblage and photography, film and video, Genzken also produced two prominent series of paintings spanning the late 80s and early 90s. This included her MLR (More Light Research) works from the early nineties, and the Basic Research paintings produced between 1989-1991. The latter have rarely been shown in isolation, or in the context of a freestanding painting show.
Eloise Hawser: Lives on Wire
- 1 July — 6 September 2015 *on now
For Lives on Wire Hawser presents a site-specific installation featuring new electromechanical sculpture and a digital video work, developed through her investigative research into the life-span of the cinema organ. Invented in the early 20th century by the British telephone engineer Robert Hope Jones, it was ubiquitous during the silent-movie era, prior to the film industry’s introduction of synchronised sound. Employing the principles of the telephone exchange, it was developed to replace cinema orchestras and reduce manpower with an individual console and organist. The device worked by issuing electric and pneumatic signals from a keyboard console to a remote rank of pipes and instruments established within the infrastructure of the cinema building. Many of these instruments, due to their scale and complexity, remain silently embedded within the architecture of former cinemas to this day.
The exhibition title derives from a passage of text in a silent documentary about the John Compton Organ factory in London. The statement describes the cabling section area of the factory, and attributes human form to the machinery that ‘lives on wire’. The documentary encapsulates the paradox of an instrument that was briefly in fashion, although it embodied a wealth of electromechanical mechanisms and principles still prevalent today. Hawser’s new work seeks to analyse the theoretical and physical attributes of a variable electronic resistor used to illuminate the art deco surround of the instrument during cinematic performances, known as the cinema organ colour changer.
For the exhibition, the relationship between the colour changer mechanism and the illuminated console is re-established and demonstrated using the ICA’s Lower Gallery lighting system, to control the colour and intensity of the gallery's lights. In doing so, Hawser explores the potential for obsolete objects to be appropriated and transformed for contemporary use, a process often referred to as skeuomorphism. Accompanying the re-animated colour-changer is a digital video work that surveys and examines an existing cinema organ in its original installation, a building which has now become a Regent's Street store, illustrating the disembodiment of the machine from cultural consciousness and its passage from sound-producing object to silent relic.
Eloise Hawser graduated from The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford in 2007 and continued her studies at Stadelschule, Frankfurt under Tobias Rehberger (2009-2012). Recent shows include 2015 Weighted Data (group show), Tate Britain, London; Surround Audience, Triennial (group show), New Museum, New York, NY; 2014 Europe, Europe, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (group show); Don’t You Know Who I Am? Art after Identity Politics (group show), M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium. 2013; Burn These Eyes Captain and Throw Them in the Sea (group show), Rodeo, Istanbul, Turkey; Soft Wear curated by Philip Zach, Sandy Brown, Berlin, Germany;Of Love, Pain, and Passioned Revolt (Then Farewell, My Beloved, ’til It’s Freedom Day), ZERO, Milan; One After One, (group show), Vilma Gold, London, UK. Solo Presentations at Frieze Art Fair, Frame section, London, UK, Liste 18, Basel with VI, VII (Oslo); and Haus der Braut, VI, VII (Oslo).
Supported by the Eloise Hawser Exhibition Supporters Group including eyevis UK Ltd, Halo Lighting and Zabludowicz Collection.
With special thanks to Lucien Nunes, Burberry and British Telecom.
Everything is Architecture: Bau Magazine from the 60s and 70s
- 29 July — 27 September 2015 *on now
The ICA is delighted to present the first significant presentation in the UK of the influential Vienna-based architectural magazine Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning, published by the Central Association of Austrian Architects. The seminal architect Peter Cook, founder of experimental group Archigram and former ICA Director discussed the period around the exhibition on 19 June 2015.
The display includes original issues of the magazine published between 1965 and 1970; a period when a group of influential Austrian architects and artists including Sokratis Dimitriou, Günther Feuerstein, Hans Hollein, Gustav Peichl, Walter Pichler and Oswald Oberhuber, took over its editorship. The magazine became a platform to explore new experimental ideas which considered architecture beyond mere concrete and instead ventured into the realms of art and politics. This radical interdisciplinary approach to architecture was crystallised in the 1968 issue of Bau in which the highly influential architect Hans Hollein boldly claimed that 'Everything is Architecture'. From a lipstick, a portrait of Che Guevara to an astronaut suit and the performances of the Viennese Actionist Otto Mühl, all could be considered architectural, aiming to question the pre-war functionality that defined modernist architecture.
Adam Linder: Choreographic Service No. 3: Some Riding
- 8 — 13 September 2015
Choreographer and dancer Adam Linder’s Choreographic Services (2013-ongoing) are a series of works, hired on a per-hour basis. His first Choreographic Service, entitled Some Cleaning (2013), sees Linder available for hire on a per-hour basis to clean the gallery, embodying the associated concepts with mimetic movements. His second more complex Choreographic Service, Some Proximity (2014), sees two dancers responding to the written observations of an arts writer, who minutes the artistic or social contexts of the location of the hired service. In responding to the observations with danced action, he seeks to collapse the viewers’ critical distance to the work.
Linder explores ideas of accumulated economic value with his work; considering choreography and dance as performed labour, he highlights the materiality of the performing body. In doing so, he reveals the real-time and economic principles of choreographic activity. The ICA commissioned Linder to conceive and develop a new Choreographic Service; the result is Some Riding (2015), which is now hired for a series of performances in the ICA’s Upper Galleries.
Linder takes the significance of the art historical and institutional contexts of contemporary art production as his starting point for Some Riding. He has commissioned two texts by writers Catherine Damman and Sarah Lehrer Graiwer that examine ideas of “choreographic embodiment” and “economies of performance”. Having memorised these texts, Linder and dancer Frances Chiaverini will recite them while choreographically riding the flow of the language, enacting the written context and providing the performative dynamics for this new piece. He intends to highlight the importance of written contextualisation and its role in communicating the underlying institutional and theoretical structure the work is based upon. Rather than manifesting these texts on the printed page, they are activated by Linder and Chiaverini in the danced activity.
Adam Linder (b. 1983) lives and works in Berlin. Recent Stage Works include Vexed Vista, premiered at Les Subsistances, Lyon (2015); Parade, premiered at HAU 3, Berlin (2013); and Cult to the Built on What, premiered at Kampnagel Hamburg (2013). Recent Choreographic Services include No.2: Some Proximity, Frieze Art Fair, London, subsequently hired by Museum Sztuki Warsaw (2015) and MoCA Los Angeles (2015); and Some Cleaning, Choreographic Service No. 1, featured in the group show Effi B, Silberkuppe, Berlin (2014), subsequently hired by Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2014); Kunsthalle Basel (2014); CCA Wattis, San Francisco (2015); and The Lulennial: A Slight Gestuary, Lulu, Mexico City (2015). The film Parade, an adaptation of Linder's stage work directed by Shahryar Nashat premiered at The Berlin Biennale (2014); further screened at ICA, London (2014) and The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014).
Please note this is a durational performance and entry is with Day Membership. The performers will begin and break at the times stated below. Audience members are free to come and go during these times.
Tue 8 Sept: Performance 11.30-1.30pm, break, Performance 3.30-6pm
Wed 9 Sept: Performance 11.30-1.30pm, break, Performance 3.30-6pm
Thurs 10 Sept: Performance 12-2pm, break, 4.30-7.30pm
Fri 11 Sept: Talk 1-2pm, Performance 2.30-6pm
Sat 12 Sept: Performance 11.30-1.30pm, break, Performance 3.30-6pm
Sun 13 Sept: Performance 11.30-1.30pm, break, Performance 3.30-6pm
Prem Sahib: Side On
- 24 September — 15 November 2015
For his first institutional solo exhibition in London, Prem Sahib will present new and recent work in the Lower and Upper Galleries at the ICA. A palpable sense of the body and human touch permeates throughout Sahib’s works, which comprise sculpture, paintings, works on paper and performance. Often minimal and sparse in colour, Sahib’s works invariably stand in for the body rather than offer a figurative representation. Through objects, performances and installations, Sahib explores both formal and autobiographical themes, relating often to intimacy, sexuality, relationships, desire and community. Sahib is interested in exploring the relationship between public and personal spaces, often evoking a sense of intimate encounters that remain hidden from plain sight in public places.
Sahib’s work is informed by an interest in the architecture and atmosphere of spaces that act as meeting places, particularly for gay communities within cities such as London or Berlin, for example clubs and other cruising locations, or the internet. Sahib also considers these communities within the wider context of club culture. In parallel with his practice is Sahib’s collaborative live practice, hosting DJ and performance nights at various venues. Significantly, Sahib collaborates with his peers, Eddie Peake and George Henry Longly, on a peripatetic club night Anal House Meltdown which has regularly taken place in east London and other cities in Europe.
Born in London in 1982, Prem Sahib lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Tongues, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, India, 2014; Night Flies at Southard Reid, and Frieze Frame presentation; Back Chat, Lorcan O’Neill Gallery, Rome, 2013; He Looked Me Up, Marian Cramer Projects, Amsterdam, and FEEL UP in collaboration with Eddie Peake, Southard Reid, London, 2012. Group exhibitions include Britain Can Make It, Hayward Gallery; I am here but you've gone, Fiorucci Art Trust, London, 2015; Burning Down the House, Gwangju Biennale; Listening, Hayward Touring exhibition curated by Sam Belinfante, Baltic, Newcastle, 2014. Performances include Woman to Woman, Gallery Vela, London, 2012; Bijou, IBID Projects, London, and Darkroom with Eddie Peake, Vogue Fabrics, Take Courage London 2011.
Lead Programme Supporter: Maryam and Edward Eisler.
Supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation.
With additional support from Galleria Lorcan O'Neill, Southard Reid and the Prem Sahib Exhibition Supporters Group.
Smiler: Photographs of London by Mark Cawson
- 12 October — 29 November 2015
The content of the exhibition focuses on a body of work that Smiler mainly shot between West London and Kings Cross. The exhibition consists of black and white images taken on an analogue camera.
“I used the camera like a storm anchor helping me to navigate and freeze a spinning world of change and flux.” Smiler
Against the backdrop of social and political upheaval, young people across the city were drawn to squats by the prospect of a place to live, but also by an identity and a sense of community. Smiler’s photographs document the people who lived in squats across the city, at a time when salvage culture was the norm. Moving from one community to another, between postcodes, Smiler captures a city in transition and documented people he met while himself “trying to manage a deep sense of alienation”. Entire streets of condemned housing sat empty across the city throughout the period - a situation that facilitated large communities to form in places such as Cromer St, the School House in Hammersmith and Queen's Gate.
Photography provided the perfect medium to capture the culture and community of these squat locations. Taking pictures, collecting photo-booth pictures and hanging on to found ephemera enabled Smiler to do this. His photographs reveal intimate moments of the squatters’ everyday life, from portraits that show snapshots of the creative identities and unabashed sexuality of his friends, to images that illuminate how they, as outcasts, experienced city life, capturing the rebellious and chaotic spirit of the time.
Drugs and squatting went hand in hand but music and art also attracted people. This was the time when Rock Against Racism was prevalent and The Clash played a high profile RAR gig in Victoria Park. DIY culture was a way of life before corporate culture and branding subsumed. Political movements shared spaces with artists, bikers, musicians, drug dealers and prostitutes.
With the housing crisis dominating the headlines today, this exhibition serves as timely reminder of how the city has transformed and poses questions about the direction it is taking. Smiler’s compelling photographs are a lens on London as a hotbed of rebellious anti-establishment sentiment and brings into focus how dramatically different the city feels today.
Smiler: Photographs of London by Mark Cawson is curated by Gareth McConnell & Matt Williams.
The ICA Fox Reading Room was made possible by the generous support of the Edwin Fox Foundation.
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