Richard Grayson: By Our Own Hand
(Boredom Is Always Counter-Revolutionary)
By Our Own Hand is an artwork made with the participation of individuals and organisations in Wandsworth who are working with stitching, appliqué, or other techniques involving textiles and cloth. Wandsworth was the home of Evelyn and William De Morgan, two leading figures in the British Arts and Crafts Movement, whose work did much to shape our ideas of craft today, and owing to its strong networks of artisanal and community crafts producers and related activities.
Each participant will develop, design and make an individual panel (or panels), forming the component letters of the phrase "Boredom Is always Counter-Revolutionary", originating from a text by Guy Debord. The panels are approximately 16 inches by 23 inches in size, and feature either one of the letters of the text, or a decorative element that will function as a spacer in the assembled work of 42 parts. The designs will be generated and produced with the guidance of expert artists, practitioners and crafts people associated with the project.
It is envisioned that participants will be a combination of individual makers and hobbyists, as well as members of community groups. Given the nature of the project and the work requiring a degree of application it is best suited for adults and older teenagers.
There will be regular meetings throughout the project for people taking part, led by embroiderer and educator James Hunting, to discuss the progress of the work, to receive input and advice, or to develop new skills with a range of visiting artists who will be operating in an advisory role. In addition, a number of visits and talks by practitioners and experts are being arranged for those who wish to discover more about the history and world of textiles and stitching.
We will also be working with a number of partner organisations and institutions, with further details to be announced shortly. All materials and associated production costs for participants and for the project will be paid for by Matt’s Gallery.
There will be an exhibition of the completed work, at a dedicated venue Wandsworth, consisting of the component cross-stitch tapestries, quilts and other needle works, all brought together to form a large textile artwork. This will be accompanied by a full colour limited edition publication and online presence through the Matt’s Gallery website, featuring an accredited full-page colour reproduction of the panel made by each participant, as well as documentation and specially commissioned writing on the finished project. All participants will receive copies of the publication.
By Our Own Hand will launch with a Registration Day for all new participants on Friday 21 July, between 2–5pm, at the R.O.S.E Community Clubroom, Ascalon Street, Battersea, London SW8 4DL. Click for map.
If you’d like more information, please contact us on 020 7207 1350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Our Own Hand is kindly sponsored by
Zweigart our principle partner for canvas,
John James our principle partner for needles,
DMC Creative our principle partner for threads.
Matt’s Gallery at Nine Elms is funded by Bellway, in agreement with Wandsworth Council as part of their Section 106 commitments.
Matt’s Gallery is generously supported by
Arts Council England.
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The starting point of By Our Own Hand is a cross-stitch tapestry made by Richard Grayson (see image above) between Christmas 2012 and Easter 2015, that consists of approximately 22,000 cross-stitches, spelling out "Boredom in Always Counter-Revolutionary".
This work references the practice of Alighiero e Boetti, an Italian conceptual artist, considered to be one of the leading members of the art movement arte povera; especially the series of iconic embroideries that he produced in the latter part of his career, which were made by Afghan embroiders.
This phrase comes from a text by Guy Debord published in the Situationist International Journal in 1962, which later became a popular graffiti in the May 1968 events in Paris. A central question for Debord was how might people find meaning and significance in the modern world, a world that alienated people not only from their work, but also from their experience of life. Boredom to him was a modern phenomenon. He considered play, spontaneity and acts of making as necessary for a fulfilling life, and as ways in which individuals might engage and take back control.
Richard Grayson is an artist and curator based in London. His work explores the ways that individuals and groups generate ways of reading the world and the role that art and music plays in communicating world-views from the individual to social areas. Recent exhibitions include Speech Acts, UTS Gallery Sydney, 2015, His Master’s Voice, HMKV Dortmund 2015, and Nothing Can Stop Us Now Matts Gallery/Dilston Grove, 2014. He was curator of the 2002 Sydney Biennale The World May Be Fantastic and ’A Secret Service’, a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition, 2006.
Matt’s Gallery is one of the UK’s leading art galleries and has supported the making of new and innovative work since its foundation in 1975. In 2014 director Robin Klassnik was awarded an OBE, in recognition of his contribution to contemporary art in the country.
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Born 1958 Morecambe, England. Lives and works in London.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
The Golden Space City of God, Old School Room Project Space (OSR) West Coker, Somerset, UK
The Magpie Index, Matt's Gallery, London;
Triumph (with Steve Wigg), Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, Australia
The Objectivist Studio Alma Enterprises London;
The Golden Space City of God Southampton City At Gallery;
Richard Grayson KunstMuseum Des Kantons Thurgau Switzerland
The Magpie Index. Baltic Gallery Newcastle upon Tyne;
Richard Grayson Yuill/Crowley Gallery Sydney Australia;
Richard Grayson: A Five Year Retrospective De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill
The Golden Space City of God Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, New Zealand;
The Golden Space City of God. Matt’s Gallery London.
Suspicious Fires, Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney
Intelligence, Matt’s Gallery, London
Messiah, Matt’s Gallery, London and Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney;
The Messiah, Kunstlerhaus Gethanien, Berlin
A Diary, A History, A Walk up the Hill, Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide;
Ways the World Ends, Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney
Negative Space (things I don’t understand), Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney
1000 accidents/Ahistoryofreading, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane;
Ahistoryofreading Artspace, Sydney
A Famous Struggle/VariousThings Explained, Contemporary Art Centre, Adelaide
Selected Group Exhibitions
HIS MASTER'S VOICE Von Stimme und Sprache/On Voice and Language, Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund, Germany;
Drawing Biennial, The Drawing Room, London, England
The Best of Times the Worst of Times - Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, Arsenale 2012 • The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Kyiv, Ukraine;
Magpie Index, screening, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Scotland;
Ghosts Off The Shelf, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
Ffilm 3, Oriel Gelf Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales;
Seeing in the Dark, Circa Newcastle upon Tyne;
This is What I Do, Metro Arts Brisbane Australia;
Ffilm 3, Oriel Gelf Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales
2010 Sydney Biennial, Australia;
The Beauty of Distance, Film and Video, The Russian Club Gallery, London, England
Curators Choice Tracy Williams Gallery New York USA ;
Choral Visual, Casa de la Cultura, Buenos Aires, Argentina;
International Artist in Residence: New Works 09.01. curated by Trevor Smith at Artpace, San Antonio, Texas
Obscurum Obscurantis Tallin Arthoone, Estonia
A Number of Worlds Resembling Our Own Smart Project Space, Amsterdam;
Navigations Per Forma Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin
Happy Believers 7th Werkleitz Biennial, Halle Germany
Art Unlimited Basel;
Project 3 CACSA Adelaide;
Electric Renaissance Culture-Centre Halle;
Gott sehen - Das Überirdische als Thema derZeitgenössischen Kunst Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Kartause Ittingen, Switzerland
Cartographies Performance Space, Sydney;
Planet B Magazin 4 Vorarlberger Kunstverein and Bregenzer Kunstverein, Bregenz
Selected Exhibitions as Curator
Worlds in Collision, Adelaide International 2014, Australia
REVOLVER, Matt's Gallery, London
Polytechnic, Raven Row Gallery London
Scary Movie Contemporary Art Centre, Adelaide
This Will Not Happen Without You (Basement to Locus 1979 - 2007) (Arts Council touring exhibition) John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle and Belfast University;
A Secret Service (Hayward Gallery touring exhibition) Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill and The Whitworth Gallery, Manchester
(The World May Be) Sydney Biennale, Fantastic Sydney, Australia
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Selected Articles and Publications
The Best of Times the Worst of Times Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, David Elliot, Kiev Biennale catalogue;
What the Dickens?, Sam Sherman, Artforum;
Richard Grayson: The Magpie Index, Mark Prince, Art Monthly;
The Magpie Index, Sam Sherman, Artforum;
Roy Harper sings for the birds, Frances Morgan, BFI Sight & Sound
Holy Objectionable Objectivists!, Polytechnic, Rachel Withers, Art Forum January;
Looking Back (pick of the year), Mike Sperlinger, Frieze Jan Feb;
Get away to Yesterday, Marcia E Vetrocq, Art in America Dec;
For The Untimely: Polytechnic, Denise Robinson, Camera Austria no 112;
Polytechnic, Art Papers (USA) Jan/Feb,
Don’t Miss: Polytechnic, Helen Sumpter, TimeOut 4-10 Nov;
Polytechnic, Max Zoller, Art Monthly No 340 Oct;
Tips: Polytechnic, Alina Astrova, Kaleidoscope. Issue 08 Autumn;
Polytechnic Early British Video Art, Colin Perry, Sight and Sound;
Polytechnic, Francesca Gavin, Rough Version;
A Return to Content? Polytechnic at Raven Row, Melissa Gronlund, Rhizome 27 Oct;
Sculpture Center, Curator’s Notebook Polytechnic 22 Oct;
Polytechnic Where Art You? Helen Wilson blog;
Pieternel Vermoortel, Three Exhibitions in London, Metropolis M;
Polytechnic: come with us now on a journey to the 1970’s, Lauren Down, Snipe Oct;
Polytechnic, Nichola McCartney Spectator Arts Blog 17 Sept;
The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a precarious Age, David Elliot 17th Biennale of Sydney catalogue, Australia;
17th Biennale of Sydney, Peter Hill, Frieze Magazine 133 Sept;
Film and Video Russian Club, Sally O’Reilly, Art Monthly No 334 March;
Richard Grayson, Art Monthly, Pryle Behrman No 334 March;
Picks of The Year: Visual Arts Golden Space City of God, Gabriel Coxhead Time Out London Christmas Edition;
ite, missa est, Boris Kremer, Broadsheet (Australia), Vol 38.3;
The Golden Space City of God at Matt’s Gallery, JJ Charlesworth, Time Out London No 2024, June 4th;
Credit Crunch Art, Waldemar Januszeck, Sunday Times 24 May.
You Talking to Me? On curating Group Shows that Give you a Chance to Join the Group Ralph Rugoff, What Makes a Great Exhibition, Ed Paula Marincola, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage;
A Secret Service, Sally O'Reilly, Art Monthly, May issue;
A Secret Service Peter Suchin, Frieze, issue 107;
Odd unnerving and utterly compelling, Kirsten Smith, The Guardian, January 27
A Secret Service Robert Clark, The Guardian, September 16
Modern Art: A Critical Introduction Pam Meecham & Julie Sheldon, Routledge;
Richard Grayson Gabriel Coxhead, Meta Papers;
Richard Grayson Martin Herbert, Time Out issue 63;
Messiah, Richard Grayson Peter Suchin, Art Monthly, February 2005 issue 28
I am Good at Games Ed Boris Kremer essays by Ihor Holubiziky and Astrid Mania, Planet B Catalogue, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien;
Ways of Saying; Reflections on the recent paintings of Maria Cruz and Richard Grayson Art and Australia, Vol 41, no 1
In your dreams, HQ Magazine, May;
Why the Biennale is a bit of a miracle, Bruce James, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May;
Fietta Jarque El capital siempre determina a las biendes, El Pais, 16 Feb;
Sydney apre la Biennale: la finzione a di scena, Flash Art (Italy), April/May; 2002 Biennale of Sydney, Simon Rees, Flash Art No 225 July/Sep;
Cuts and thrust, Michael Hutak, The Bulletin 16, April;
A Fabulous Mess, Michael Hutak, The Bulletin, 4 June;
As Good as a Wink, Benjamin Genocchio, The Weekend Australian 25 May; Tate Magazine, Issue 29, Summer;
Biennale of Sydney, Jeff Gibson, Artforum, Autumn;
Fantasic Sydney Biennale, Michael Benton, Art in America, November;
Biennale of Sydney, Sotiis Kyriacou, Contemporary, June;
Fabulous-Biennale, Hannah Fink, Art Monthly (Australia), No. 151
Selected Writing (articles and catalogue essays)
A Number of Disappearances, catalogue essay, Mark Wallinger;
Traceurs To Trace, catalogue essay, Layla Curtis, Chelsea Space, Aargauer Kunsthaus Switzerland;
Door Window Draw, catalogue essay for exhibition of works by Anna Barriball at Gallery Bo Bierggaard, Copenhagen, Denmark;
Lindsay Seers, SMART Papers, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, Netherlands;
Scary Movie, catalogue essay, Contemporary Art Centre SA, Australia;
Without You This Will Not Happen: (Basement to Locus 1979 to 2007), University of Sunderland Press
Hexen 2039, Suzanne Treister, essay, Black Dog Publishing;
A Secret Service, Hayward Gallery
Mike Nelson: Between a formula and a code, contributors Peter Eleey, Richard Grayson, Ralph Rugoff and Rob Tufnell, Turner Contemporary, Koenig Books
Doubtiful: dans les plis du réel University of Rennes, catalogue essay; Qualified Survivors: A curriculum for artists, ed Paul Boneventura and Steven Farthing, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University
Ideal States James Angus Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, catalogue essay
Grasshopperworlds: The World May Be Fantastic catalogue essay, Sydney Biennale;
Mike Nelson: The Deliverance and the Patience catalogue essay for Peer Trust, 49th Venice Biennale
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