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the thought of stuff

gallery seminar
stuffed pepper

not nothing nowhere

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the thought of stuff
A project by Leila Galloway and Andy Price at the RBS galleries and the Shipwright’s Palace, London.

Exhibition jointly supported by the RBS
and De Montfort University, Leicester
20 May – 11 June 2010

The Thought of Stuff, an exhibition at the Royal British Society of Sculptors, combined work by Alison Wilding, Esmeralda Valencia, Jack Strange, Wayne Lucas, Adam Gillam and Jonthan Callan, with a performed talk, Stuffed Pepper, by Elizabeth Rosser held at the Shipwright's Palace in Deptford. These seven diverse practices share a commitment to something that might be identified with sculpture – an initmate confrontation with materiality in generating new becomings.

The notion that culture has quite recently made a turn away from language – at least an idea of language that sought to prefix everything – and is rooting once again in all those places of alarm and enchantment that actually support its possibility – the body, stuff, performance, making – has been widely mooted. So widely that to present a show that merely celebrated this shift as some kind of return would be glib.

Culture might be dreamt into turning its leviathan head to ponder again baser things than flitting signs or buzzing codes, but shit does happen on computers, and the word cannot be completely exorcised from the thing – even though the attempt might be a special ordeal that tempers a great deal of interesting sculpture.

The situation for artists is also much more complicated and inflected than a mere turn – or shift of attention – would imply. Artists do not pull levers to turn heads or force eyes this way or that; neither are they easily moved from their own courses. They progress unevenly, usually with their backs to their audiences, in the blind care of studios, work spaces, their own heads, bodies and even sometimes materials; places that often feel strangely uncoupled from the world and antagonistic to quickness or suddenness of movement – because to slow down, to exclude, to filter, is possibly to think.

The artists presented are from different stages of their careers, different generations – perhaps another way of slowing down. Some are highly experienced and well established, others emergent; one is a student. All distinctively engage with the synaptic juncture of thinking and making, thought and stuff, and evidence the persistent relevance of this site, albeit scarred by cliché and troubled by romance, in the development of contemporary sculpture.

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Jonathan Callan
Adam Gillam
Wayne Lucas
Elizabeth Rosser
Jack Strange
Esmeralda Valencia
Alison Wilding

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