Peter Downsbrough and the Shamberg Turtle + Shelagh Cluett and Lloyd Johnson via Tom Waits
Tags: Ali Smith, Ana da Silva, Carl Andre, Charles Garrad, Chris Marker, Christopher Yetton, David Blandy, David Toop, Down By Law, Elvis Costello, Evan Parker, Gavin Bryars, Gina Birch, Henry Moore Institute, Hollis Frampton, Jah Wobble, Jazzonia and the Harlem Diaspora, Jim Jarmusch, Jo Stockham, Kirsten Weiner, Lawrence Weiner, Liam Gillick, Lisa Le Feuvre, Lloyd Johnson, Matt Rugg, Michael Shamberg, New Order, Nick Cash, Nick Cave, Peter Downsbrough, Peter Saville, Shelagh Cluett, Sophie Raikes, Tom Waits, Turtle: An Anarchic Salon, Virginia Whiles, Yvonne Rainer
The very first ‘Turtle’ exhibition and series of events was Turtle: An Anarchic Salon at CHELSEA space in the summer of 2006. The project came about after the film maker Michael H Shamberg, who was well known for his work with the band New Order, had become ill with the debilitating Mitochondrial disease. The turtle had become a symbol of hope for him because in Lebanon, at the border with Israel, there is a turtle sanctuary that became a protected area during the civil war allowing the almost extinct Mediterranean Sea Turtle to flourish. Shamberg said at the time “This is something good that came out of the war. I have gone through my own corporeal civil war and TURTLE is my sanctuary and celebration”.Michael Shamberg contacted artists, musicians and writers to participate in this brilliantly chaotic salon and contributors and performers at CHELSEA space included Gavin Bryars, Gina Birch, Ana Da Silva, graphic designer Peter Saville, artists Carl Andre, Barbara Kruger, Lawrence Weiner, Liam Gillick, David Blandy, writer Ali Smith, dancer/performance artist Yvonne Rainer, film maker Chris Marker, photographer Hollis Frampton – the list was endless. CHELSEA space are delighted that this week’s Turtle event included a soundwork by Peter Downsbrough who showed with us in 2011, and the whole Turtle Salon is organised by Nick Cash who is working with us in May on an exhibition called ‘Avant-Craft’ about the furniture of the post modern architect and interior designer Max Clendinning whose work is featured in the forthcoming V & A exhibition British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age
On 24th February at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, CHELSEA space Director Donald Smith and artist Jo Stockham gave a talk about the work of the late Shelagh Cluett .
Shelagh Cluett: Drawing in Space is a very beautiful and well considered show curated by HMI’s Sophie Raikes and looks at Cluett’s early work from 1968-1980 through drawings, photographs, sketchbooks and sculptures. There are direct links with the CHELSEA space show Shelagh Cluett Sculpture 1977-1980 with some material common to both and it was great to see the works in the context of the Henry Moore Institute and their other current exhibition United Enemies: The Problem of British Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s. The Henry Moore Institute is rare and important; a place where a serious discussion is happening about sculpture and sculptors now and an invaluable educational resource that helps us better understand the diverse legacy of sculpture in the UK through the collected personal archives of artists themselves.
The conversation on the 23rd February covered a lot of ground from the formal aspects of Shelagh Cluett’s work and her working methods, perspectives on being a female artist in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, philosophical questions of whether a sculpture can be a “drawing in space”, through to discussions of Cluett’s experience and influence in art education from her early days as a student at Hornsey and Chelsea and as the first female Head of the Sculpture Department at Chelsea. The talk was full of fascinating anecdotes and insights thanks to the presence of Shelagh’s great friends Jo Stockham, Matt Rugg, Charles Garrad, Chris Yetton, and Virginia Whiles, who had taught her, shared studios with her, taught with her, worked hard with her and clearly played hard too!
Meanwhile back at CHELSEA space, Tom Waits is evoked in our current exhibition in the form of a pair of Johnsons La Rocka boots.
And the connections don’t stop there – Tom Waits famously sang on the extended recording of the musical masterpiece Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet by Gavin Bryars who has been a long term friend and collaborator with CHELSEA space.