One half of internationally acclaimed artists Cornford & Cross, Professor Matthew Cornford leads Fine Art at Brighton.
Cornford & Cross produce large scale installations and interventions, engaging with the spatial, social and historical contexts of specific sites, forming a critical interaction with the people and organisations that occupy them. 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.
One half of internationally acclaimed artists Cornford & Cross, Professor Cornford leads Fine Art at Brighton. His own work investigates art's ability to test concepts, boundaries and definitions in an open society, engaging with the spatial, social and historical contexts of specific sites.
Working in collaboration with David Cross, Matthew Cornford has gained national and international recognition as an artist. Together Cornford & Cross investigate art's 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.
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.
Matthew Cornford met met David Cross whilst studying at St Martin’s School of Art, London in 1986. After graduating they each completed an MA at the Royal College of Art. 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.
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.
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.
Exploring the historical trauma of the English Civil War and its relation to cultural memory and contemporary politics
Exploring the effects of modern technology on visual culture and the human psyche
Cornford, Matthew (2016) Old School: The Case for Specialism in Art Education In: Blamey, D., ed. Specialism. Open Editions, London, pp. 21-35. ISBN 9780949004017
Cornford, Matthew and Diab, Susan (2014) The student placement scheme: teaching and learning post-studio practice Journal of Visual Art Practice, 13 (1). pp. 41-49. ISSN 1470-2029
Beck, John and Cornford, Matthew (2014) The Art School and the Culture Shed The Centre for Useless Splendour, Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames. ISBN 9781908811097
Cornford, Matthew and Cross, David (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]
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"Thomas Hirschhorn and Cornford & Cross, who in an explicit defilement of the public location of art as the democratic ‘home’ of art, produce a range of public installations that are emaciated, faded and entropic. In fact these remnant objects of Hirschhorn and Cornford & Cross, deliberately embrace the ambiguous threshold of the non-artistic sign in order to produce a flattened, positivized spectator."
(John Roberts ‘Art, Politics and the Topological Turn’, guest lecturer, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, 3 October 2013)
"Cornford & Cross’ work pursues a strange, but necessary, paradox: they fight assiduously and tenaciously to create works that exist as ghostly things, deflationary gestures, faded after-effects, bathetic monuments, self-negligent objects, inert signs."
(John Roberts, ‘Fade Out’, Cornford & Cross, Black Dog Publishing, London, 2009, p.15)
"Cornford & Cross’ practice does not represent a vacillation between a progressive cultural politics and a retardataire investment in obsolete cultural forms, but embodies an acute sense of resistance to the ‘imposition of a false idea of unity and order on the representation of things."
(Rachel Withers, ‘Style and Character’, Cornford & Cross, Black Dog Publishing, London, 2009, p. 26)
Grants and awards towards the production of new work since 2001
2008: Awarded grant from Wolverhampton Art Gallery, for new site-specific installation
2008: Awarded grant from Meadow Gallery/Arts Council England, for new site-specific work, at Attingham Park, Shropshire
2004-2005: Originated, developed and wrote bid to Arts Council England for touring exhibition Co-authors David Cross and Alistair Robinson, NGCA.
2004: Originated, developed and wrote bid to British Council for artists residency in China; Co-author David Cross.
2000-2001: Developed and wrote bid to Arts Council England for film production budget; Co-author David Cross and Steven Bode, Film and Video Umbrella.
Juries, committees and editorial boards
2009-present: MA Fine Art, Byam Shaw School of Art, London.
2006-2009: BA(Hons) Art and Design Interdisciplinary, Leeds College of Art, Leeds.
2001-2005: BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London.