A World View: John Latham

A World View: John Latham

This volume is published on the occasion of the Serpentine Galleries Spring Season (2 March–21 May 2017): A World View: John Latham at the Serpentine Gallery and Speak: Tania Bruguera, Douglas Gordon, Laure Prouvost, Cally Spooner at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

John Latham is widely considered a pioneer of British conceptual art. His multifaceted practice encompasses sculpture, installation, painting, film, land art, engineering, found-object, assemblage, performance happenings and theoretical writings, the diversity of which is galvanised by his unique understanding of our place in the universe. The group exhibition Speak, running concurrently at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, proposes Latham as an ‘open toolbox’ for younger generations of artists whose diverse practices share affinities with Latham’s ideas and world view, revealing how they continue to resonate today.

This publication traces the trajectory of Latham’s practice and brings together archival material, including documentary photographs, texts, correspondences and various ephemera, in order to build a picture of the artist’s life and work.

The book begins with two texts by Richard Hamilton, which draw upon his personal experience of working with Latham. Elisa Kay, previous director and curator at Flat Time House, focuses on Latham’s Roller Painting, THE, as well as expanding on the role that this space played within Latham’s practice. Noa Latham focuses on the monumental work, The Story of the RIO, and Katherine Jackson provides an in-depth analysis of Latham’s APG placement at the Scottish Office. David Toop’s text ‘Blow Up’ draws upon ideas of sound, silence and noise as it relates to Latham’s work, in particular his film works of the early 1960s. Adam Kleinman and Cally Spooner offer contemporary responses to themes including social sculpture, global politics and the production of reality, which resonate with Latham’s understanding of time and history. To close the publication, Serpentine Galleries curator, Amira Gad’s essay provides a historical overview of Latham’s practice.

The volume includes a selection of interviews conducted by Hans Ulrich Obrist with John Latham, Barbara Steveni and Douglas Gordon, and between Anish Kapoor and Latham, which draw out the conversations that have informed this project. The book also contains a series of visual contributions and interventions by Tania Bruguera, Rita Donagh, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Yoko Ono, Laure Prouvost, Pedro Reyes and Barbara Steveni. 

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