Talk by David Mabb at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 12 January 2012

“On the Passage of a Few Patterns through a Rather Brief Moment in  
Time: David Mabb’s Appropriations of William Morris 1999-2011″

William Morris thought that interior design had a fundamental role to  play in the transformation of everyday life. This essentially  political motivation – a commitment to the radical potential of design  – is behind much of his work as a designer and craftsman and the setting up of Morris &  Co. Morris’s designs are highly schematized  representations of nature, where it is always summer and never winter;  the plants are always in leaf, often flowering, with their fruits available in abundance, ripe for picking, and with no human labor in sight. Mabb’s paintings, photographs, textiles and videos, work with and against Morris’s designs by contrasting them with the work of Malevich, the Russian Constructivists, modernist architecture, photographs of industry and recently images of slogans. These combinations produce unstable picture spaces that are never fixed, where a Morris pattern and the other image never merge or separate.

This lecture has been organised to accompany the exhibition William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth which is open until 29 January 2012 at Two Temple Place. The exhibition draws upon the remarkable collections of  
the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, which is closed for major refurbishment until July 2012. Organised in collaboration with The Courtauld Institute of Art, this exhibition is the first in the annual series of exhibitions by The Bulldog Trust which are intended to draw on and increase the visibility of collections across the country, and to provide opportunities for young and emerging curators.

Thursday, 12 January 2012
6 p.m.
Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN UK

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