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December 2007 Talks Programme - ICA

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE INSTITUTE of Contemporary Arts’ (ICA) Talks Programme for December begins on Monday, December 3 with Sylvia Plath Revisited.

In the light of the recent publication of Eye Rhymes, a book of largely unseen paintings and sketches by Sylvia Plath and new essays by Plath scholars, this evening revisits the great poet’s life and work, focusing on the relationship between the visual and verbal.

Poet Adam O’Riordan will be joining rapper and star of Michael Winterbottom’s documentary The Road to Guantanamo, Rizwan Ahmed; National Theatre multimedia designer, Mark Grimmer; and award-winning playwright and actor, Elisabeth Gray.

The talk will be preceeded by a specially commissioned series of responses to Plath in song, animation, and film.

Sylvia Plath Revisited, which will be held in the Nash room at 7pm, will be chaired by Sally Bayley of Jesus College, Oxford.

Tickets: £10, £9 concessions, £8 members.

The second talk in the 60 Years of Curating series, The Artist-Curator: Curators as Artists and Artists as Curators, will be held in the Nash room on Tuesday, December 11 at 7pm.

To mark the ICA’s 60th anniversary, it looks back at the dominant curatorial approaches of the institute’s history, questioning their continued relevance today and looking at the possibility of their revival.

The series takes key exhibitions and themes from the ICA’s past as the starting point for discussion – exhibitions including Parallel of Life and Art, Prostitution, Cybernetic Serendipity and Unknown Political Prisoner, and themes such as eroticism, technology, psychedelia and destruction. Transcripts from the talks will form the basis of a publication to be released at the end of the series.

The postwar era fundamentally altered the way in which the public interacted with art. One of the most visible changes was the emergence of the artist from studio to exhibition space. Key exhibitions of the late 50s, such as This is Tomorrow (Whitechapel, 1956) and Parallel of Life and Art (ICA, 1953) saw artists and architects collaborating on exhibition stands and curatorial models.

Arguably the most ambitious artist-curator was Richard Hamilton, whose amalgamation of images, artworks and display techniques created a new standard in curatorial practice (An Exhibit, ICA, 1957). This fluid positioning has resulted in some of the most interesting exhibitions in the contemporary British art scene, and recently, due to pressures both creative and economic, the rise in the artist-run space.

Many questions remain unanswered – is there a fundamental difference of position between artist and curator? Do we need curators at all? Should the curator be considered an artist?

Speakers include ICA director of exhibitions, Mark Sladen; artist-curator, Jeremy Millar; director of Eastside Projects, Gavin Wade; co-director and curator of Alma Enterprises, Vyner Street, Siobhan Wootton; Director of Doctoral Research for the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at Birkbeck College, Dr. Cameron Cartiere; and curator and writer, Claire Doherty.

Tickets: £10, £9 concessions, £8 members.