February 8, 3–5pm, with Diane Simpson
February 27, 6:30–8:30pm, with Denzil Forrester, Sam Thorne, and Julian Henriques
Nottingham NG1 2GB
From February to May 2020, Nottingham Contemporary will present three solo exhibitions: Denzil Forrester’s largest-ever institutional exhibition, featuring new paintings of Kingston’s music scene; a survey of Diane Simpson’s minimalist sculptures and drawings spanning her 40-year practice; and a new commission by Sung Tieu exploring sound weapons, brain damage and belief systems.
Itchin & Scratchin brings together a wide range of large-scale paintings and gestural drawings by the Cornwall-based, Grenada-born artist. These vivid works capture the rhythms of London’s dancehalls and dub-reggae clubs, subjects that have endured in Denzil Forrester’s practice for more than 40 years. Forrester’s paintings typically begin as quick sketches, often made during the length of a single track and drawn quasi-blind on dark, bustling dancefloors.
Having visited Kingston for the first time in 2019, the artist will also present a new body of work shaped by the vibrant energy of Jamaica’s sound-systems. Five new paintings will be exhibited alongside preparatory drawings. Itchin & Scratchin will be punctuated by significant works, spanning 1978 to the 2010s, to demonstrate the breadth and commitment of Forrester’s practice.
Denzil Forrester: Itchin & Scratchin is presented in partnership with Spike Island, where it will be on display from July 4 to September 6, 2020.
In Diane Simpson’s first European institutional solo show, Nottingham Contemporary will present five decades of work by the American sculptor, most of which have never previously been shown in the UK.
Meticulously handcrafted, Simpson’s sculptures are constructed from seamlessly interlocking components of fibreboard, plywood and other everyday materials. Forms are borrowed from architectural details, clothing and the bodies that inhabit them, reflecting an interest in the coexistence of the domestic and industrial worlds.
Sculptures begin as drawings that visualise details from the history of clothing and design, rotated at 45-degree angles using techniques borrowed from architecture and engineering, as well as Chinese and Japanese art. Adding layers of abstraction, Simpson translates these blueprints into three-dimensional space replicating the 45-degree-angle perspective. Simpson’s process will be represented in the exhibition through preparatory drawings on graph paper exhibited alongside sculpture.
The exhibition includes wall-based, freestanding and suspended work from her seminal “Samurai” series (1981–82) alongside examples from later bodies of work such as “Historical” (1984–90), “Headgear” (1990–96) and “Apron” (2000–05).
Nottingham Contemporary presents a new commission by the Vietnam-born, Berlin/London-based artist Sung Tieu, in her first major institutional solo exhibition in the UK.
In Cold Print comprises of a newly conceived installation, including sound, texts, sculptures and architectural interventions. Tieu’s new body of work continues her ongoing investigation into the psychological dimension of warfare, acoustic weaponry and its relationship to Cold War ideologies.
At the heart of the exhibition, Tieu’s new soundscape manipulates material related to the “Havana Syndrome.” First reported in 2016 by US embassy staff posted in Cuba, it manifested in unexplained disorders and brain injuries resembling concussions and was believed to be caused by a sound weapon. The artist exposed herself to a reconstruction of the acoustic attack to record her cerebral activity and translates it both visually and acoustically. Enquired from the perspective of Tieu’s subjectivity and political agency, this new work questions the legibility of scientific narratives and the reliability of proof-making.
Dominated and divided by a maze of steel fences and concrete pillars, the exhibition space showcase newspaper spreads, a continuation of the artist’s “Newspaper 1969 – ongoing” series. Acting as information agents, they reveal the complexity of the research material and the manipulated setup of the project, blurring the line between evidence, counter-evidence, science and conspiracy, while exploring how the dissemination of ideas can affect perception.
Nottingham Contemporary is producing the artist’s first publication in collaboration with Haus der Kunst in Munich, where Tieu will present another solo project, Zugzwang, open January 30–June 21, 2020. The publication will be launched on April 25, 2020.