Under the Sun is an exhibition of work concerning the relationship between perception and the memory of things already seen. This exhibition stages this encounter between familiar imagery and the contemporary.
‘Texts come before us as the always-already-read; we apprehend them through sedimented layers of previous interpretations’
Frederic Jameson, 1981
Alexander Massouras is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford University and combines art history with art practice. His work is in collections including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Originally from Nottingham, he read Law and then Art History at Cambridge and wrote his PhD thesis about the concept of the ‘emerging artist’. He undertook this research as a member of the Art School Educated project at Tate. He was awarded a Paul Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2014, and his research continues to focus on institutional history.
Alexander Massouras studied law and it is tempting to see this as a partial critique or reference to an institute that upholds the law. It is also tempting to sense that 1984 was a year when this island had a civil war, still being played out, where institutions of all kinds seemed to begin their retreat into themselves, valuing their own codes and language through endless audits; a tick box language that spawned so many businesses. It was also a time when you were either on the wrong or right side. Choice became ‘choice is good for that can choose’ and the gap between the poles of binaries widened and widened like Yeats’s gyres.
My memory of the strike is digging out pots and pans to give to the miner’s families and various other attempts at a kind of support. Throughout the events I sensed the phrase ‘working at the coal face’ was about to spin into its demise as other ‘coal face’ workers, teachers, nurses, and social workers were, are, subjected to a torrent of ideological strategies to privatise our society.
John Newling, 2015
SYSON are delighted to be producing a publication with Alexander Massouras designed by Pavilionary, featuring essays by John Newling and John Paul Stonard.
Due out in November this year.