View from Cockforest

Missed this show: Common Property at Jerwood

Photo: Hydar Dewachi

Photo: Hydar Dewachi



Curated by Hannah Pierce, Jerwood Encounters: Common Property seeks to demonstrate how artists engage with and relate to copyright through the work of six emerging and mid-career artists, including three new commissions. The exhibition and accompanying events programme seeks to generate new conversations about how copyright is currently impacting the way visual artists make and distribute their work, and demonstrates how artists are challenging the limitations of copyright through their practice.

The exhibition takes its title from a response Sol LeWitt made in Flash Art in 1973 to the accusation that he had copied the work of Francois Morellet and Jan Schoonhoven. He stated: “I believe that ideas once expressed, become the common property of all. They are invalid if not used, they can only be given away and not stolen…

Copyright has expanded exponentially over the past two decades in line with the unprecedented free-exchange of information and content that takes place over the Internet. In October 2014, in an attempt to make the copyright system better suited to the digital age, changes to UK legislation came into effect allowing the parody of copyrighted works. This change allows individuals to make limited but reasonable use of creative content previously protected by copyright, through ‘Caricature, Parody and Pastiche’, without having to gain permission of the rights holder – provided that it is considered ‘fair and appropriate’.

Jerwood Encounters: Common Property comes at a hugely significant time in the continuing chaotic development of the law on copyright. It comes also at a time of markedly increasing interest in the nexus between art and law generally. Copyright law is currently in a state of flux amidst the coincidence of emergent new digital realities, a proliferation of appropriation based cultural expression and the prospective move towards a more creativity based standard for protection. Further complexity is added to the terrain by impending and potentially radical EU reforms and a growing awareness of the importance of achieving balance within the IP system, with an increased emphasis being placed on exceptions and limitations to the scope of copyright protection. The works in Common Property address many of these concerns exploring, inter alia, the themes of cultural transformative re-use, technology’s impact on the boundaries of infringement and the contemporary challenges to the fundamental notions of authorship inherent in copyright law.Shane Burke, Lecturer in Law at Cardiff University

There will be a number of new commissions in Common Property, reflecting the current and evolving artistic interest in ‘playing’ with copyright frameworks and associated issues.Antonio Roberts, a digital artist from Birmingham, will show work that tests questions of creative ownership rights arising from today’s increasingly sophisticated digital technology.Owen Parry’s commission, Larry!Monument, is informed by his fascination with the phenomenon of ‘fandom’ and the fan-art aesthetic. His life-size ‘monument’ pays homage to the fictional romance between One Direction members Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, as dreamed up by the band’s infatuated fans. The third commissioned project is a site-specific piece by Hannah Knox, which draws inspiration from the Magic Eye series of ‘autostereograms’, popular in the ’90s (these were 2D digital patterns which offered up illusory 3D images on prolonged viewing). Hannah will exhibit a series of new painted and mixed media works based on Magic Eye posters, complemented by a vast original Magic Eye backdrop.

Canadian-based artist Rob Myers’ Sharable Readymadesproject aims to return iconic art historical ‘readymades’ to the public domain. He will display several examples of these works as 3D-printable models. Intentionally simulating the way in which DJs sample, distort and layer the music of others, Edwin Burdis will present a new series of paintings entitled POLYTUNNEL-BANGERZ which sample and ‘remix’ existing artwork, including his own. SUPERFLEX, a group of Danish artist-designer-activists, describe their work as ‘tools’: models or proposals which can be used and modified by their users. They will be exhibiting Copy Right, a model of a chair that references the ‘knock-off’ imitations of Danish designer Arne Jacobsen’s ‘Ant Chair’, hugely popular in the mid-20th century.

In 2016 Jerwood Charitable Foundation marks ten years of Jerwood Visual Arts, its national programme supporting visual arts practice. Since the inception of the programme in 2006, Jerwood Charitable Foundation has channelled a total of £4m through it, working with more than 1200 visual artists, writers and curators from across the UK and supporting a wealth of research and new commissions for audiences now reaching 60,000 a year.

From Jerwood website

Jerwood_Encounters_Common_Property_PR___FINAL_564dd392adc9a (1)