University of Cambridge Museums

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RECASTING at the Museum of Classical Archaeology

RECASTING runs from 5 September to 15 October 2016 at the Museum of Classical Archaeology.

RECASTING, a new exhibition at the Museum of Classical Archaeology will feature Paul Allen, Matthew Darbyshire, Tom de Freston, Maggi Hambling, Paul Kindersley, Rosie O’Grady and REILLY, whose works echo, embrace, or challenge the classical artistic tradition.

Spanning different materials and formats – painting, sculpture, installation, video, and drawing – the exhibition will take the form of a series of interventions throughout the museum’s Cast Gallery. Artworks will be displayed among the plaster casts of the antique which are on permanent view, in order to reveal some of the contrasts and continuities that define art’s ongoing relationship with the classical past.

Established in the late nineteenth century, the Museum of Classical Archaeology comprises a collection of more than 600 plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculpture. It includes Victorian-era replicas of many of the iconic works of classical art, including the Parthenon Marbles, Farnese Hercules, and Belvedere Torso. RECASTING boldly reinterprets the space of the Cast Gallery, integrating works by living artists – ranging from the local to the internationally acclaimed – into the permanent display. Through a series of pairings and juxtapositions, alternately dramatic and understated, it aims to provoke conversations between the classical tradition and the art of the present. Casting is examined as a mode of reproduction, but equally as a metaphor for classical reception.

A number of the works in RECASTING respond directly to ancient art and myth. Others glance in more oblique ways at their legacy. A recent sculpture by British artist Matthew Darbyshire takes the form of a sitting lion, rendered in layers of hand coloured Multi-wall polycarbonate. Resonating with the iconography of the Greco-Roman world, it also plays with substance and seriality – concepts which have come to define not only casting, but classical art in its entirety. Maggi Hambling’s Aftermath (Sleeper), a bronze sculpture based on a piece of dead wood, probes the expressive potential of the fragmentary cast: a model in plaster and paint, suggestive of a head, is transmuted into bronze.

Two artists have created works which respond directly to the museum’s collection. REILLY, a video and photographic artist based in London, plays on the familiarity of the classical canon in digital collages which tease apart iconic imagery, ancient and modern. Cambridge-born Paul Kindersley, who first visited the Museum on school trips, presents a series of drawings inspired by the plaster casts.

The eclectic selection of works in RECASTING points to the fact that artists continue to engage in original, dynamic and subversive ways with the classical past. The exhibition throws light on the ways in which casting and recasting (whether in plaster or bronze, performance or painting) are always acts of translation, mediating between re-enactment and reinterpretation.

RECASTING is curated by Ruth Allen and James Cahill, graduate researchers in the Faculty of Classics. Ruth is a Roman art historian, currently working on the iconography of engraved Roman gemstones. James’s research focuses on the relationship between contemporary visual art and Greco-Roman art and mythology. He regularly contributes to art magazines and periodicals.


Paul Allen
Brighton-based artist and illustrator Paul Allen (b. 1952) graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1976. He has worked across Europe and the USA as an illustrator in many fields, including advertising, design, publishing, and the music industry. His work has featured in campaigns for Philips N.V., Citroen S.A., the Ford Motor Company, Swissair, Kraft General Foods, AT&T, the BBC, Barclays Bank, BT, The Guardian, Island Records, CBS Records, and A&M Records.

Matthew Darbyshire
Matthew Darbyshire (b. 1977, Cambridge) graduated from the Slade in 2000 and the Royal Academy in 2005. He has had solo shows at Manchester Art Gallery (2015), Stanny House, Suffolk (2014), Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire (2013), Bloomberg Space, London (2013) and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2013). His work has also been shown at Hayward Gallery, London (2015), Galleria d’arte Moderna, GAM, Turin (2013), Miro Foundation, Barcelona (2011)and Tate Britain, London (2009).

Tom de Freston
Oxford-based artist Tom de Freston (b. 1983) is currently Cultural Fellow at University of Birmingham and Artistic Director at Medicine Unboxed. He was previously a Levy Plumb Artist in Residence at Christ’s College, Cambridge (2008-2009), a Leverhulme Artist in Residence at Cambridge University and the Hatley Artist in Residence at C4RD (2011).

Maggi Hambling
Maggi Hambling (b. 1945) trained at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, Ipswich School of Art, Camberwell, and the Slade. From 1980-81 she was the National Gallery’s first Artist in Residence. Major solo exhibitions include those at the National Gallery, London (2014), State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2013), Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (2010), Yale Center for British Art (1991), and the Serpentine Gallery, London (1987). Her work has most recently been the subject of a survey exhibition at the Cultural Institute, King’s College London (2015). She is represented in collections including (in the UK) those of the British Museum, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. Hambling’s public sculptures include Scallop (2003), which is permanently sited on Aldeburgh beach, Suffolk. She lives in Suffolk and London.

Paul Kindersley
Cambridge-born artist, makeup enthusiast, and video broadcaster Paul Kindersley (b. 1985) graduated from Chelsea College of Art in 2009. His drawings have been exhibited widely, including in The Centre For Recent Drawing (London), Fruehsorge Contemporary Drawings (Berlin), Transition Gallery (London), and Simon Oldfield Gallery (London). His films have been shown at The London Underground Film Festival and Burn at the Hackney Picturehouse, and performances hosted at Nottingham Contemporary and the ICA London. His work has also been featured online in i-D, The Independent, Dazed & Confused, Rhizome, Fad, arty and Garageland magazines.

Rosie O’Grady
Rosie O’Grady (b. 1990) graduated from Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow in 2015, and from Glasgow School of Art in 2013. She was selected for a Graduate Residency at Hospitalfield (2015) and was awarded a special commendation as a Finalist in Saatchi’s New Sensations (2013). She has exhibited at The Amateur Library at Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow), Spares (Glasgow), Simone DeSousa Gallery (Detroit), Victoria House (London), and Transmission Gallery (Glasgow).

Scottish-born artist, illustrator, and fashion designer REILLY (b. 1969) graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1993. His work has featured on campaigns for many top brands, including Gucci, Lambourghini, Microsoft, Nike, LVMH, Paul Smith, Guido Palau, Ray-Ban, Coca Cola, Jimmy Choo, Adobe, Hed-Kandi, Kylie Minogue, Vogue, V & A, Chloé, Penguin Publishing, and Sony. His artwork has appeared in numerous magazines including i-D, The Times, Dazed & Confused, Complex, Timeout, Grafik, Graphics International, iDN, and Wonderland, and on WGSN, Hypebeast, and It’s Nice That websites.

RECASTING runs from 5 September to 15 October 2016 at the Museum of Classical Archaeology.

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This entry was posted on September 1, 2016 by in Culture, Goal 1, News and tagged , , .
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