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Yinka Shonibare CBE curates a new Arts Council Collection Touring exhibition opening at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

09 Nov 2018

Yinka Shonibare curates the Arts Council Collection
5 April–16 June 2019
Longside Gallery
Yinka Shonibare CBE has curated a new Arts Council Collection Touring exhibition opening at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire on 5 April 2019. Criminal Ornamentation features a number of celebrated artists including Timorous Beasties, Susan Derges, Laura Ford, Ed Lipski, Alexander McQueen, Milena Dragicevic, Lis Rhodes, Bridget Riley, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Caragh Thuring and Bedwyr Williams.
Reflective of Yinka’s own practice, this exhibition in Longside Gallery explores the cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in modern and contemporary art. The title of the show is taken from Adolf Loos’ 1908 influential essay ‘Ornament and Crime’. In this essay Loos’ examines the notions of good and bad taste and condemns the use of decoration and craft as an indication of the lowest level of cultural development, to the extent of stating ‘the modern man who tattoos himself is a criminal.’ Yinka Shonibare CBE challenges this notion by saying ‘Adolf Loos was clearly a man of his time in his snobbish revolutionary zeal to abandon ornamentation as he saw it as the pre-occupation of the working classes and degenerates’.
Included in the exhibition are a range of works that Shonibare has chosen to challenge the notion of the ornament as crime. Shonibare looks to embrace colour, ornament and pattern as a means for social and political expression. Acclaimed artist Bridget Riley, for example, uses geometric patterns and repetition within Ecclesia (1985). Operating as more than bands of colour and stripes; Riley creates new shapes and spaces by changing the viewer’s point of perception. Similarly, Andy Holden’s Totem for Thingly Time, 2014, a sculptural piece formed of dripping plaster was made as an attempt to ‘reveal the time of its own construction’. Painter Sean Scully, whose work can be seen at YSP in the current exhibition Inside Outside, creates an interplay of expansion and restriction through the constant repetition of lines and structures within his work.
Bedwyr Williams’ The Burn, 2012, a shell encrusted metal BBQ, plays with the idea of ‘kitsch’ - highlighting issues surrounding class, taste and snobbery. These themes are also documented in Ron McCormick’s Man by China Stall, 1973, a photograph depicting a man surrounded by decorative pottery that was popular at the time but considered ‘kitsch’ by the elite. These works explore how society’s taste changes over time, and examines the crossover between ornaments, craft and art.
A number of works in the exhibition suggest the diverse potential of abstract patterns within art. As well as acting as decorative pieces, they explore postcolonialism and the strong connection between individuals and society. Bashir Makhoul’s Zigzag, 1992, explores the theme of politics through the use of Islamic pattern; the painting questions ‘western capitalism and the Eastern Oil Empire’. Ardyne Point, 2016, by Caragh Thuring draws inspiration from a local protest at a Scottish oil rig yard, using pattern to create a multitude of opportunities for different interpretations.
Comedy is often present throughout the exhibition, Timorous Beasties’ ‘London Toile’ wallpaper for example, portrays a dark sense of humour in its mismatch between form and content. From a distance, the work resembles a traditional chintz pattern, however up close there are many shocking contemporary references including the depiction of a mugging, a seemingly homeless man on a park bench and a recognisable brutalist landmark, the Trellick tower.
Throughout the exhibition it is possible to see evidence of Yinka Shonibare CBE aiming to break down the boundaries of gender association through the use of pattern and fabric. An embroidered evening dress and a metallic clutch bag by fashion designer Alexander McQueen are placed in Criminal Ornamentation alongside other works, blurring the boundaries between high and low art, cheap and luxurious, craft and art.
Yinka Shonibare CBE said: ‘Criminal Ornamentation’ is about the refusal of artists to stay away from vulgar ornamentation and obsessive popular repetition of pattern. Cheers to all the criminals!!’
Jill Constantine, Director of the Arts Council Collection said: ‘Yinka Shonibare CBE is one of the most innovative and exciting artists working in Britain today and we were delighted when he accepted our invitation to curate an exhibition from the Arts Council Collection. Deliberately avoiding conventional ideas of curating he has produced not only a visually stunning exhibition but one which questions the place of decoration and ornament in 21st century art and culture and our notions of ‘taste’ in a playful and evocative way.’
Full list of artists:
Bridget Riley, Sean Scully, Michael Kidner, Joe Tilson, Phillip Allen, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Norman Dilworth, Andy Holden, Caragh Thuring, Bashir Makhoul, Lis Rhodes, Edwin Li, Gareth Jones, Peter Collingwood, James Maskrey, Philip Eglin, Stephen Dixon, Emilie Taylor, Bedwyr Williams, Timorous Beasties, Fran Robinson, Claire Curneen, Candace Bahouth, Sarah Lucas, Simon Martin, David Batchelor, Alexander McQueen, Marios Schwab, Tom Gallant, Susie Freeman, Claire Barclay, Michele Walker, Hew Locke, Louise Hopkins, Alek O., David Bellingham, William Morris, May Morris, Janice Kerbel, Karl Maughan, Anya Gallaccio, Pavlos Dionyssopoulos, Roger Hiorns, Susan Derges, Joan Hills, Mark Boyle, David Nash, Andy Goldsworthy, John Newling, Lynn Silverman, David Hepher, Rachel Whiteread, Idris Khan, Ron McCormick, Derek Ridgers, Larry Herman, Dennis Hearne, Roger Mayne, Peter Mitchell, Paul Graham, Martin Parr, Bill Brandt, Paul Trevor, Chris Killip, Tim Head, Brian Alterio, David Chadwick, Oscar Mellor, Laura Ford, Jane Ackroyd, Mark Neville, Ryan Mosley, Kenny Macleod, Lisa Milroy, Mona Hatoum, Graham Gussin, Faisal Abdu’Allah, Milena Dragicevic, Sonia Boyce, Cathy De Monchaux, Edward Lipski, Mawuena Kattah.
Works by Anya Gallaccio, Roger Hiorns, David Nash, and Andy Goldsworthy can also be seen in YSP’s open-air collection.
Tour details
Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester – 21 September–16 December 2018
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter – 19 January–16 March 2019
Southampton Art Gallery – 28 June–28 September 2019
Notes to Editors
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. It is an independent charitable trust and registered museum (number 1067908) situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. Founded in 1977 by Executive Director Peter Murray, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in Europe to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell.
Highlights for 2019 include a comprehensive exhibition in the Underground Gallery and open air of sculpture by David Smith, part of the inaugural Yorkshire Sculpture International, produced in partnership with the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth Wakefield. This year also sees the opening of The Weston, a new additional visitor centre at YSP, designed by architects Feilden Fowles, which Delhi-based artists Thukral and Tagra will inaugurate with a new exhibition inspired by games and play. YSP mounts a world-class, year-round temporary exhibitions programme including some of the world’s leading artists across six indoor galleries and the open air. Recent highlights include exhibitions by Giuseppe Penone, Alfredo Jaar, Tony Cragg, Not Vital, KAWS, Bill Viola, Anthony Caro, Fiona Banner, Ai Weiwei, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Amar Kanwar, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Joan Miró and Jaume Plensa. More than 80 works on display across the estate include major sculptures by Phyllida Barlow, Ai Weiwei, Roger Hiorns, Sol LeWitt, Joan Miró and Dennis Oppenheim.
YSP’s driving purpose for 41 years has been to ignite, nurture and sustain interest in and debate around contemporary art and sculpture, especially with those for whom art participation is not habitual or familiar. It enables open access to art, situations and ideas, and continues to re-evaluate and expand the approach to considering art’s role and relevance in society. Supporting 45,000 people each year through YSP’s learning programme, this innovative work develops ability, confidence and life aspiration in participants.
YSP’s core work is made possible by investment from Arts Council England, Wakefield Council, Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation and Sakurako and William Fisher through the Sakana Foundation. YSP was named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2014. ysp.org.uk
The Arts Council Collection is a national loan collection of British art from 1946 to the present day. With more than 8,000 works and more than 1,000 loans made to over 100 venues a year, it is seen by millions of people in public spaces from galleries and museums to hospitals, libraries and universities. Representing one of the most important collections of British modern and contemporary art in the world, it includes work from Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore to Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry. The Collection supports and promotes British artists by acquiring art at an early stage of their careers. The Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London and includes the Sculpture Centre located at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. artscouncilcollection.org.uk
Yinka Shonibare CBE (b. London, UK, 1962–) moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to the UK to study Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London and Goldsmiths College, London, where he received his Masters in Fine Art. He has become known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism within the context of globalization. Through his interdisciplinary practice, Shonibare’s work examines race, class and the construction of cultural identity through a sharp political commentary of the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. In 2004, he was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 2008, his midcareer survey began at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; touring to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. In 2010, his first public art commission Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, and was acquired by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. His work is included in notable museum collections including Tate, London; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago among others.
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. Arts Council England support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. artscouncil.org.uk
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 17acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit southbankcentre.co.uk


Criminal Orientation Press Release

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Bedwyr Williams, The Burn, 2012. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist

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Bridget Riley, Ecclesia, 1985. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © Bridget Riley 2018. All rights reserved

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Ed Lipski, Tattoo, 1998. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist

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Milena Dragicevic, Opet, 2002. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist

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