exhibition archive

Monica Ross: A Critical Fine Art Practice

16 November – 16 December 2016

exhibition info | press release | images | item list | private view | publication | invitation


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Private view: Tuesday 15 November, 6:00-8:30pm

Act of Memory – Chelsea College of Arts
2-4pm, Wednesday 14 December, 2016
Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground, Chelsea College of Arts
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Monica Ross: A Critical Fine Art Practice
Monica Ross, Like Gold in the Furnace, Tape-slide work, 1987-1988. Photo credit: Bernard G. Mills.

British artist Monica Ross died in 2013 leaving an influential 40-year body of pioneering, socially-engaged, feminist and performative art practice that has profound significance for contemporary art and society.

This exhibition presents archival material and works from 1970-2013 including early feminist collaborative works, drawings made at Greenham Common in the 1980s, poster designs for the anti-nuclear movement, works relating to the writings of Walter Benjamin and documentation from the 60 performances of Anniversary-an act of memory, solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations from memory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2008-13) which concluded with a final collaborative performance at the UN in Geneva on the day of Ross' death.

A monograph on the artist, published by Sternberg, will be launched at the exhibition.

Monica Ross (1950-2013) was an artist who worked with video, drawing, installation, text and performance who first came to prominence as a Feminist artist and organiser. Ross was co-responsible for collective initiatives such as the seminal Women’s Postal Art Event (Feministo: Representations of the Artist as Housewife, ICA, London, 1977, Kunstlerinnen International 1877-1977, Schloss Charlottenberg, Berlin, 1977) and the touring project Fenix with Kate Walker and Sue Richardson. Both projects made visible the conditions and constraints of the working class female artist with Fenix (1978-80) making studio practice public by appropriating galleries as workspaces. Fenix was included in the group exhibition Issue, curated by Lucy Lippard and Margaret Harrison at the ICA, London in 1980. Ross then co-established the Sister Seven group which operated as a national network for the distribution of poster art and performances in church halls, libraries, on the streets and at peace camps including Greenham Common.

Monica Ross curated exhibitions, published critical essays and text works and was Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Saint Martins School of Art (now Central Saint Martins), London 1985-1990, later becoming leader of the innovative Critical Fine Art Practice course from 1990 - 1998. Ross was Guest Professor at Institut für Kunst in Kontext, Universität der Künste, Berlin 2004, and an AHRB Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle 2001-2004. In 2008, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ross performed the first of 60 recitations in her series Anniversary – an act of memory: solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations from memory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 2014 the British Library acquired the digital archive of Monica Ross into their collection. The archive documents Monica Ross’s early work from the 1970s through to Anniversary - an act of memory (2008- 2013), a performance series in 60 acts of solo, collective and multilingual recitations from memory of the entire Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

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As with each exhibition at CHELSEA space, a new illustrated publication will accompany the show.

Press Information
For further information, images or to discuss interviews please contact: Karen Di Franco or Cherie Silver at CHELSEA space via email info@chelseaspace.org or tel: 020 7514 6983

Notes to Editors
Images and further information are available upon request
About: CHELSEA space is a public exhibiting space, sited on the Millbank campus of Chelsea College of Arts, where invited art and design professionals are encouraged to work on experimental curatorial projects. See: www.chelseaspace.org
• In copy please refer to CHELSEA space and not ‘The Chelsea space.’
Gallery opening times: Wednesday-Friday 11am-5pm and by appointment.
Private view: Tuesday 15 Novenber, 6:00-8:30pm
Admission: FREE

Chelsea College of Arts is one of the world’s leading art and design institutions. Located at Millbank, next door to Tate Britain, Chelsea specialises in Fine Art, Graphic Design and Interior and Textiles Design. Since its origins in the 19th century, the College has produced many of the greatest names in the arts, including: Quentin Blake (illustrator and author) Ralph Fiennes (film and stage actor), AnishKapoor (sculptor), Steve McQueen, (artist), Chris Ofili (artist), Alan Rickman (film and stage actor), Alexei Sayle (comedian) and Gavin Turk (sculptor).

Operating at the heart of the world’s creative capital, University of the Arts London is a vibrant international centre for innovative teaching and research in arts, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts. The University is made up of six Colleges: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art. Renowned names in the cultural and creative sectors produced by the University include 12 Turner prize winners and over half of all nominees, 10 out of 17 fashion designers named British Designer of the Year, more than half of the designers showcased in London Fashion Week and 12 out of 30 winners of the Jerwood Photography Award.