Prof Matthew Cornford
Scholarly biography and interests
After graduating from St Martins School of Art, Professor Matthew Cornford completed his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1991. His teaching experience encompasses the development and delivery of both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, in addition to PhD supervision. He has experience in successfully bidding for external funding (AHRC, ACE), managing Fine Art research staff, and he participated in the 1996, 2001 and 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). He was awarded a professorship from the University of Wolverhampton in 2006, and joined the University of Brighton as Professor of Fine Art in April 2009.
Working in collaboration with David Cross, Matthew Cornford has gained national and international recognition as an artist. Together Cornford & Cross investigate arts ability to test concepts, boundaries and definitions in an open society. Their work engages with the spatial, social and historical contexts of specific sites, forming a critical interaction with the people and organizations that occupy them.
Cornford & Cross have carried out an Arts Council residency at the London School of Economics, and a British Council residency at Vitamin Creative Space in Guangzhou, China. In addition to a number of site-specific projects in England, their work has been exhibited in Bologna, Brugge, Pancevo (Serbia) Rome, and Stockholm; in the USA in San Fransisco, Philadelphia and New York; in London at Camden Arts Centre, the ICA, Photographers' Gallery and South London Gallery.
Matthew Cornford has given numerous talks and lectures about his work, in galleries and educational institutions across the country including the Arnolfini, V&A, Whitechapel, Bartlett School of Architecture and The Royal College of Art. He has been an external examiner to undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Central St Martins College of Art & Design, Leeds College of Art & Design and the Byam Shaw School of Art, London.
Professor Cornford met David Cross whilst studying at St Martin’s School of Art, London in 1986, they went onto study at the Royal College of Art, from which they graduated in 1991. Since then they have created a body of work that responds to the problems that arise out of particular contexts or situations. Accordingly, each of their projects has been radically different, not only in form but in content.
Cornford & Cross have recently completed a solo-touring exhibition and book that draws upon works produced over the last 15 years. The exhibition originated at Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2005-06), and travelled to Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth (2007), and the recently opened Exchange Gallery, Penzance (2007). As the culmination of this touring exhibition Black Dog London, have published a 192-page book Cornford & Cross (2009), which includes artists’ texts, photographs and critical essays by John Roberts and Rachel Withers. For more information on Cornford & Cross: www.cornfordandcross.com.
Cornford’s concern with context and post-studio practice has led him to research the art practices of a number of artists associated with Land Art. Since 2002, He has visited and photographing a number of major land art works in North America and Europe. These include Agnes Denes’s Tree Mountain, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Broken Jetty/Spiral Hill; Michael Heizer’s Double Negative; Walter de Maria’a Lightning Field; Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels and Up and Under; Robert Morris’s Observatory and Constantin Brâncusi’s Endless Column.
Cornford, Matthew (2012) The white bear effect: the effects of modern technology on visual culture and the human psyche [Exhibition]
Beck, J. and Cornford, Matthew (2012) The art school in ruins Journal of Visual Culture, 11 (1). pp. 58-83. ISSN 1470-4129
Cornford, Matthew and Cross, D. (2010) It Happened Here [Exhibition]
Cornford, Matthew and Cross, David (2008) The once and future king [Exhibition]
Cornford, Matthew and Cross, David (2008) The Lion and the Unicorn [Exhibition]
Selected exhibitions and projects by Cornford & Cross
- The White Bear Effect: the effects of modern technology on visual culture and the human psyche, LED screen showing Olympic highlights, 5 x 4 metres. Solo exhibition, The White Building, London. 8 – 14 September
- The Ends of Art. ‘Praxis’ Parian marble cut to the size of one ream of A4 paper, 297 x 210 x 66 mm. Curated by Euripides Altintzoglou. Group exhibition, Beton7 Center for the Arts, Athens, Greece, 5 – 26 July
- The white bear effect: the effects of modern technology on visual culture and the human psyche, LED screen showing Olympic highlights, 4 x 3 metres, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, East Sussex
- 'Bedizzended' Why Read the Classics? (2005) Giclée print on aluminium. Exhibition included, Othello Desouza Hartley, Rebecca Fortnum, Jessica Voorsanger. Curated by Jenny Dawes, et al. APT Gallery, London 8 - 18 July
- 'It Happened Here' Formal English garden replaced with turf from Ulster, Meadow Arts commission, The Commandery, Worcester, Opened 14 May
- 'The Sleep of Reason,' Scaffolding tripod, 24-carat gold leaf, Meadow Arts commission, The Commandery, Worcester, Opened 14 May
- Atlas… Separated by Intervals. ‘The Man Who Sold the World’; two Georgian pennies hidden in the crypt. Curated by Emma Somerset Davis and Mark Metcalfe. The Crypt, St Pancras new church, London 14 April – 20 April. Catalogue.
- ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’. Maximum safe load of coal laid on gallery floor. Curated by Kate Pryor. Wolverhampton Art Gallery, England 8 November – 31 January
- Give Me Shelter. ‘The Once and Future King’; steel security wire over buried well. Attingham Park, Shropshire, England. Exhibition included Henry Krokatsis, Ivan and Heather Morrison and Keith Wilson. Curated by Anne de Charmant. Meadow Arts, Ludlow, England 27 September – 27 September
- ‘The Abolition of Work’. Artists’ fee and budget in one-penny coins laid on gallery floor. Curated by James Green. Exchange Gallery, Penzance, England 29 September – 18 November
- T/raum(a)’68 . ‘Unrealized Projects’; photographs, texts on paper. Exhibition included Marcel Broodthaers, Andre Cadere and Erwin Wurm. Curated by Michel Dewilde, Stef Van Bellingen. Cultuurcentrum, Brugge, Belgium 1 September – 7 October. Catalogue
- ‘Trance Nation’. Helicopter and searchlight over summer Solstice gathering. Curated by Michael Stanley. Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, England. Dawn to sunrise, 21 June
- ‘Words are not Enough’. Temporary peace garden over abandoned nuclear bunker; public address by Paul Gough. Curated by Mark Willsher and Emily Druiff. Camberwell, London 16 – 24 June
- ‘Where is the Work?’. Photographs, texts on paper. Curated by Sandra Ross. Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, London 6 June – 5 August
- Obliterated Landscape. ‘A Month in the Country’; stock photographs, whitewash, text on paper. Exhibition included Shezad Dawood, Saron Hughes and Nikolaj Larsen. Matthew Bown Gallery, London 26 April – 26 May
- ‘Fire Down Below’. Geometry of gallery doorway outlined in red silk ribbon. Curated by Joanne Bushnell Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, England 24 February – 22 April
- ‘Where is the Work?’. Photographs, texts on paper. Curated by Alistair Robinson. Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, England 24 November – 21 January 2006
- Tra Monti. ‘Why Read The Classics?’; film lamp, reflector on marble statue. Curated by Adrienne Drake, Athéna Panni, and Maria Rosaria Rinaldi. Tra Monti district, Rome, Italy 15 September – 2 October
- There is Always an Alternative. ‘Christmas Card’; price sticker on gift card, text on paper. Exhibition included Alison Marchant, Hayley Newman, Giorgio Sadotti. Curated by Dave Beech and Mark Hutchinson. Temporary Contemporary Gallery, London 29 May – 10 July. Catalogue
- Longitude, Latitude, Season. ‘Childhood’s End’; Anarchy symbol drawn by fighter jet in the sky, shown as two-screen video installation. Exhibition included Mark Harris, Robert Moss and Guillem Ramos Poquí. Curated by Brendan O’Neil. Catalyst Arts, Belfast, Northern Ireland 17 September – 9 October
- Out of Conflict. ‘Childhood’s End’; Anarchy symbol drawn by fighter jet in the sky, shown as two-screen video installation. Joint exhibition with Catherine Elwes. Curated by Mark Segal. ArtSway Gallery, Sway, England 8 May – 20 June. Catalogue
- Perfectly Placed. ‘Where is the Work?’; cast iron floor grille, text on paper. Exhibition included Adam Chodzco, Goshka Macuga and Paula Roush. Curated by Donna Lynas. South London Gallery 6 – 29 August
- Values: 11th International Biennial of Visual Arts. ‘How Buildings Learn’; doorway blocked by archive material. Civilization and its Discontents. Black flags flown from cultural buildings. Exhibition included Daniel Buren, Jeremy Deller and Mark Wallinger. Curated by Svetlana Mladenov and Igor Antic. Pancevo, Serbia and Montenegro 29 May – 10 July. Catalogue
- Tonight. ‘The End of History’; text on paper. Exhibition included Adam Chodzco, Liam Gillick and Andrew Grassie. Curated by Paul O’Neill. Studio Voltaire, London 15 April – 30 May
- Tales of the City. ‘Camelot’; photograph, text on paper. Exhibition included Nils Norman, Abigail Reynolds and Gary Stevens. Directed by Ann Gallagher. British Council, Artefiera Bologna, Italy 21 – 26 January. Catalogue
- A Period Eye. ‘A Month in the Country’; stock photographs, whitewash, text on paper. Exhibition with Richard Billingham and Sarah Jones. Curated by Richard Denyer. Norwich Castle Museum, England 29 September – 29 February 2004. Catalogue
- Imaging London. ‘The End of Art Theory’; photographs, text on paper. Exhibition included Tim Brennan, Hadrian Piggott and Elizabeth Price. Curated by Ben Cranfield. Houldsworth Fine Art, London 17 July – 18 August
- Civic Centre: reclaiming the right to performance. ‘Cosmopolitan’; USA marriage agency interviews with Russian women, CD players, headphones. Curated by Alan Read. Victoria & Albert Museum, London 15 April
- Strike. ‘Civilization and its Discontents’; Black flag flown from gallery roof. Exhibition included Fiona Banner, Martin Creed and Jeremy Millar. Curated by Gavin Wade and Liam Gillick. Wolverhampton Art Gallery, England 14 September – 9 November. Catalogue.
- Re: mote. ‘New Holland’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Utopia’; Photographs, texts on paper. Exhibition included Alexander and Susan Maris, Dalziel and Scullion, and Erwin Wurm. Curated by Camilla Jackson. Photographers’ Gallery, London 30 November – 19 January 2002
- Let’s Get to Work. ‘How Buildings Learn’; Gallery doorway blocked by art books including Keith Wilson, Atelier van Lieshout and Sarah Sze. Curated by Gavin Wade and Jonathan van Dyke. Philadelphia University of the Arts, Philadelphia USA 17 November – January 2002
- Let’s Get to Work. ‘How Buildings Learn’; Gallery doorway blocked by art books. Exhibition included Kathrin Böhm, Atelier van Lieshout and Sarah Sze. Curated by Gavin Wade and Jonathan van Dyke. Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, USA 21 July – 20 October
- What’s Wrong? ‘Unrealized Projects’; texts on paper. Exhibition included Bank, David Burrows and Mark Hosking. Curated by Dave Beech. The Trade Apartment, Brixton, London 5 October – 5 November
- ‘The Art School and the Culture Shed’. This book grows out of a presentation given as part of the 2012 Stanley Picker Public Lectures on Art programme hosted by the School of Fine Art at Kingston University. The transcribed talk and images explore and contrast the demise of the local art school with the rise of the new contemporary gallery. Co-author John Beck. Small-press book, 48 pages. Published by The Centre for Useless Splendour, Kingston University, London. ISBN 978-1-908811-09-7
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- ‘Mobilizing Uncertainty’, chapter for book, co author David Cross. Published inOn Not Knowing; How Artists Think, edited by Elizabeth Fisher and Rebecca Fortnum. Paperback, 160 pages, published by Black Dog London. ISBN13: 978 1 908966 29 2. pp 32–41
- Beck, J. and Cornford, Matthew The art school in ruins, Journal of Visual Culture, 11 (1). pp. 58-83. ISSN 1470-4129
- 'A Dialogue on Art School,' chapter for book Curating and the Educational Turn, Edited by Paul O'Neill and Mick Wilson, Published by De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam. pp. 262 - 270.
- Cornford & Cross. This book brings together for the first time a range of the encounters, actions and debates that make up our work, and includes texts, reference material, and photographs documenting the 33 different projects and art works. With essays by John Roberts and Rachel Withers. Hardback book, 192 pages. Published by Black Dog, London. ISBN13: 978 1 906155 69 8.
- ‘Takin’ it to the Streets’. The essay explores unofficial public realm projects, through the recent work of Mark McGowan, Can Altay and Sam Curtis and addresses the value of working independently and without official support. Series editor Sophie Hope
- ‘Home Counties Surrealism: The forgotten art of Marcus Keef’. Article on the work of Marcus Keef, who produced some of the most evocative and influential British album cover art of the early 1970s. His best-known work was for Vertigo and Neon labels with a varied roster of folk and progressive acts, singer-songwriters and heavy metal bands. Co-Author John Beck, issue editor John L. Walters. Eye: The International Review of Graphic Design. No. 68, Vol. 17, Summer
- ‘Unrealised Projects: projects 1997 – 2002’. Chapter for book New Practices/New Pedagogies. Edited by Dr Malcolm Miles Taylor & Francis (Routledge) Lisse, Netherlands. pp. 53-61.
- ‘Inside Outside’. Written in the form of a dialogue between us, the article explores the methodology of transgressive site specificity that underpins our work. Third Text special issue on collaboration. Edited by John Roberts and Stephen Wright. Volume 18, issue 6, November, pp. 657-665.
- ‘Unrealised Projects: projects 1997 – 2002’. Texts and images. Mined. Edited by Golsorkhi and Laeufer. Tank Publications Ltd. pp. 49-55.
- ‘Where is the Work?’. Chapter for book Transmission: Speaking and Listening. Edited by Kivland and Sanderson. Published by Site Gallery and Sheffield Hallam University. pp. 48-56.
- ‘Coming up for air’. Prospectus for public monument. Making History series of art commissions curated by Terry Shave. Staffordshire University.