What makes a work of art ‘difficult’, and what makes it difficult to engage with as a viewer? Why are some artworks considered scandalous or subject to being censored, and how does that change with the times? Art that deals with emotionally charged subjects, such as racism, mental illness or conflict can have both a strong physical and emotional effect. Equally, not everyone is comfortable viewing intimate, personal works, like those exploring illness or grief. Join us for an evening exploring emotionally difficult artwork in relation to both the creator and the audience.
Susan Aldworth is a visual artist who lives and works in London. She has a background in philosophy, and a strong interest in investigating the workings of the human mind, especially consciousness and our sense of self. Working as an artist-in-residence in a medical or academic setting is central to Aldworth’s practice – she has collaborated with neuroscientists, art historians, clinicians and philosophers in her explorations into what it means to be human. Work from her recent research into Sleep, during her residency at the University of York, can be seen in The Dark Self at York St Mary’s (7 June – 3 September 2017) and The Art of Sleep at Lotte Inch Gallery (21 June -21 July 2017), and in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2017.
Her work is held in many public and private collections including the V&A, the British Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum, The Wellcome Collection Library and Williams College Museum of Contemporary Art, USA. Aldworth is an associate lecturer on the Art & Science MA at Central Saint Martin’s, London.Aldworth has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally most recently in Realisations at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Susan Aldworth: The Portrait Anatomised at The National Portrait Gallery in London. Other significant exhibitions include Mapping the imagination, V&A, London, Reassembling the Self, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, Sleuthing the Mind, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, Brains: the mind as matter, Wellcome Collection, London, Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology, Science Museum, London, Between, Inigo Rooms, Somerset House, London, Images of the Mind Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden and Moravian Gallery, Brno, Landscapes of the Mind, Williams College Museum of Art, USA, and 6th International Kyoto Hanga Print Exhibition, Japan.
Natalie Lambert lives and works in London. She studied Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art, and has been working across the arts as a creative producer and project director. She is currently studying on the MA Fine Art course at Central Saint Martins (UAL). Natalie occupies a role situated on the border of architect / curator / facilitator within her practice, establishing a framework of constraints and then observing, mapping and charting the patterns of agency which emerge from within it.
In her talk, Natalie will be exploring the sensitive issues surrounding the censorship of art, drawing on history and her own experience.
“Pantomime politics have shown that an individual and collective sense of agency can be easily massaged and manipulated algorithmically. Paradoxically, in our increasingly interconnected world, we are more atomised – more disconnected from one another – than ever before. Reality is increasingly abstracted and occluded in a ‘post-truth’ paradigm, in which the subject is kept in a constant state of distraction, assaulted by stimuli but not equipped with the informational cognitive frame to decode it effectively.
I wish to address such uncomfortable truths in my work, to explore the roles we play as both individuals and collectives, in the systems we inhabit and operate within, to highlight contradictions in our belief systems and provoke the unravelling of truth. To destabilise the technologies we have integrated into our everyday lives by playfully manipulating the ‘promiscuous circulation of images’ in continual, disposable circulation.”
THECUBE London is a coworking space in East London, whilst Em-Em is an art&science collective from Central Saint Martins. Em-Em is taking over our space for the summer of 2017. Keep your eyes peeled for any other upcoming events.