Wentworth describes himself as “a Londoner, always keen to impress on a visitor that London is ‘by the sea,‘ to diminish the fable that it is ‘on the Thames‘.” Going on to explain, “Indeed it is, but the tidal estuary is so extremely powerful that all of London’s geopolitical opportunity flows directly from this.” Ironic then, that Richard Wentworth, the supreme metropolitan, has quarantined for three months in open country near the source of the River Thames, 100 miles from the city. Not far away is the small market town of Cirencester, coincidentally the Roman’s second city when they colonized Britain. Offering different sites and a different pace, Cirencester is rich in ancient history and innovations of daily life, rich in what Wentworth terms, “accidents of encounter.” In weekly conversations with the artist in preparation for this exhibition, Wentworth shared, “this town is quite legible.... In London one has to edit constantly. Not necessary here, one isn’t bombarded here, more animal-like.” He goes on to say, “the landscape is open, porous, chopped up and framed” and “what engages me is how quickly this is read.”
As ideas have taken shape, the concepts of There’s no knowing have landed on an infrastructure, beautiful in its honesty, supporting a collection of photographic images of sites and situations from the artist’s current environment. Images of what Wentworth describes as an “attempt to resolve contingency, in-betweenness, a ‘that-will-doism’,” are printed on clear plastic film and draped or attached to twine that meanders through the space from point to point. This installation is felt as much as it is seen. Viewers will find themselves moving from the collective to the specific as they seek out images that are as individually stunning as they are generous, merging to become a single element in a larger purpose. Of a particular image, a five-bar gate that transitions to a four-bar gate, Wentworth remarked on his use of history to understand what he was seeing. History and evidence of intention are important to Wentworth. He points to intention informing and connecting us with the passing remark, “humans recognize it in others.” History is how Wentworth places and makes sense of what he describes as “how the world is assembled” past and present.
This exhibition came about through the sharing of images and texts over email and conversations over Zoom, what Wentworth refers to as “sending post cards.” Which is in part what the exhibition does with the viewer as it presents distance and time with found and captured images from there to be received within the environment of Blind Alley, the environment and conditions of here. Aware of our global moment in which time and distance are warped, calling for innovation and new realizations, Wentworth recognizes that “we are living in a kind of collision” and with that, acknowledges that there’s no knowing.
Richard Wentworth, CBE lives and works in London, UK. Major solo presentations include Lecciones Aprendidas, Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid, Spain (2019), SWG3, Victoria Miguel, Glasgow, UK (2018), Now and Then, Peter Freeman Inc., New York, NY (2017), False Ceilings, Indianapolis Museum of Art (2015), Bold Tendencies, Peckham, London, UK (2015), Black Maria with Gruppe, Kings Cross, London, UK (2013), Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2010), 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2009), Tate, Liverpool, UK (2005), Artangel, London, UK (2002), Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (1998), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (1994) and Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (1993). Recent group shows include Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2018), MAC, Belfast, Ireland (2016), Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2015) and Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2014). Publications include, Richard Wentworth at Maison Alaïa, published by Paris: Galerie Azzedine Alaïa (2017) and Richard Wentworth: Making Do and Getting By, featuring an interview with the artist by curator, Hans Ulrich Obrist, published by London: Koenig Books (2015). In 2011, Richard Wentworth was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for services to art.
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