Flaxman Exchange offers new perspectives on UCL collections
4 March 2013
A unique collaboration between UCL Art Museum and performance artist Marcia Farqhuar will explore the UCL Flaxman Gallery and the stories connected with renowned neoclassicist John Flaxman.
Taking the form of a guided tour, the Flaxman Exchange project includes nine live performances throughout March and a multi-platform audiovisual guide.
The project will also be accompanied by a series of limited edition works, a lecture given by the artist and a pair of one-hour 'pop-up' displays curated by UCL academics Jane Darcy and Tom Gretton.
"Following the recent refurbishment of the Flaxman Gallery, Marcia's performance will provide a unique way to explore the space and also themes - such as death, art education and popular culture - associated with it," said Dr Nina Pearlman, manager of UCL Art Museum.
A rare surviving 19th century sculptural installation, the UCL Flaxman Gallery was reopened last year following a bold transformation. This included placing Flaxman's plaster study 'St Michael Overcoming Satan' on a new glass plinth, offering views of the Octagon Gallery below. The Octagon Gallery has also been radically changed with new cases, animations and interactive screens to display treasures from UCL's collections.
The work will have a lasting legacy through the audiovisual guides and allow generations of UCL students and staff as well as visitors to participate in an accessible experience
Dr Nina Pearlman
The project is part of a wider celebration of Flaxman's work, which has recently included Plastered at UCL Art Museum and also John Flaxman, Line to Contour, an exhibition at the Ikon gallery in Birmingham which runs until the 21st of April.
"Central to the activities of UCL Art Museum is the relevance of art from the past to contemporary ideas and artistic practice," said Dr Pearlman. "This proposal sits firmly within a body of projects that explore and reinforce this position through unique collaborations with researchers and artists who offer new perspectives on familiar and rare objects from the 1490s to the present day."
Containing over 10,000 objects including paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture dating from 1490 to the present day, UCL Art Museum's collections are housed in a traditional print room setting at UCL, with paintings and sculptures also displayed in public rooms around the university.
Founded in 1847 with a gift of the sculpture models and drawings of Flaxman, the collection also holds the prize-winning student works from the Slade School of Fine Art dating from 1890 to the present day.
"It is our aim that this be the inaugural commission of a series of annual Flaxman Gallery projects and will introduce to UCL at large the importance of art in the public realm as it moves forward to establish its first public art strategy," said Dr Pearlman.
"Significantly, the work will have a lasting legacy through the audiovisual guides and allow generations of UCL students and staff as well as visitors to participate in an accessible experience."
Flaxman Exchange runs from Monday 11 March to Saturday 16 March. For more information, and to reserve tickets, click here.