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Matt’s Gallery at Nine Elms | July 2017–ongoing | Richard Grayson | By Our Own Hand | Opening Event: Friday 1 June 4–8pm | Exhibition: 2–3 June 2018, 12–5pm |
Richard Grayson, By Our Own Hand Workshop, 2017. Image courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery, London. Photographs by Carmen Valino.

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 has developed, designed and made 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 have been generated and produced with the guidance of expert artists, practitioners and crafts people associated with the project.

The participants are a combination of individual makers and hobbyists, as well as members of community groups.

We have been hosting 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. These have been kindly hosted and supported by the R.O.S.E Community Centre, in Wandsworth.

All materials and associated production costs for participants and for the project have been provided 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. There will be a launch event including artists' talks and visiting practitioners, and the exhibition will run for two weeks. All participants will receive copies of the publication.

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.

If you’d like more information, please contact us on 020 7207 1350 or email

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.

NINE ELMS sponsors
NINE ELMS materials sponsors

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Workshop Sessions
By Our Own Hand group workshop sessions have been kindly hosted by the R.O.S.E Community Clubroom, Ascalon Street, Battersea, London SW8 4DL Click for map.

2-3 June 2018, 12-5pm
Opening Event: Friday 1 June 4-8pm

Matt's Gallery, Nine Elms
The Residence
42-44 Ponton Road, SW8 5BA