24th May 2018 3:30pm-5:00pm
102 Edward Street
There are many definitions of modernism, and attempts to encapsulate it have often been politically imbued, or even motivated. This talk will reflect on the recent coinage of the term ‘Sussex Modernism’, specifically in relation to the 2017 exhibition ‘Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion’ at Two Temple Place, London. Does Sussex Modernism exist? What is at stake in saying that it does? What possibilities are opened up by the idea of Sussex Modernism? The talk will address these questions while discussing both the decisions made while curating the show and audience responses to it. It will also describe how ‘Sussex Modernism’ is continuing to evolve as it begins to take the shape of a book rather than an exhibition.
The talk should chime with the aims and interests of the Centre for Design History, partly because the makers who have been grouped together as Sussex Modernists made important contributions to domestic and architectural design as well as to fine art. More conceptually though, this talk will show how Sussex Modernism, which might at first seem an oxymoronic category, is a provocation to redress mythologized oppositions that have arisen around cultural keywords and concepts: country and city, local and global, tradition and innovation, and even art and craft.
Dr Hope Wolf is a Lecturer at the University of Sussex, co-Director of the Centre for Modernist Studies, and Associate Director of the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research. She was the curator of the Sussex Modernism exhibition at Two Temple Place, London, in 2017, and is currently curating with Rosie Cooper an exhibition on the Surrealist and psychoanalyst artists Grace Pailthorpe and Reuben Mednikoff for the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, that will open in October 2018. The venue is just a few miles away from the artists’ final home in Ninfield.