For the sake of the thing itself : Group Exhibition
‘Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself’ – Wallace Stevens
This exhibition and accompanying catalogue are the culmination of innumerable conversations that we have had in the three years since we started Hunter / Whitfield.
As visitors to our spaces in Marylebone and Clerkenwell will know, we are interested not only in contemporary art, but by artworks and artefacts from the past. It has been a great pleasure to see how both the artists and collectors with whom we’ve had the good fortune to work are also joyfully open-minded and pluralistic in their interests.
With that in mind, we have brought together a group of artworks and objects that re ect some of our own tastes and interests outside our contemporary programme. The exhibition, which comprises mainly 20th century British artworks and ancient artefacts, is not strictly thematic, but rather driven by our own aesthetic impulses and fascination with the material. It is our hope that the viewer can take time to relish each object, painting and drawing in their own right, rather than seeing them merely as devices to illustrate a grander curatorial narrative.
There are, however, links that can be drawn between the works which go beyond the merely visual or the historical kinship of the modern British pictures. The perceptive viewer will see that a Cornish thread runs through this show, starting with Alfred Wallis and Barbara Hepworth and Shoji Hamada (indeed, even the clay that Richard Long used in Untitled is sourced in St Austell, Cornwall). Many of the works and objects gathered here also share an af nity with the earth, the ground; be it in tonality or origin, they allude to the cyclical nature of both life and art.
In his book, A Potter’s World, Bernard Leach writes of meeting Japanese craftsmen from whom he ‘learnt to expect beauty as a part of normal life and as a necessity.’ ... ‘things should be done for the sake of the thing itself.’ It is with this ethos that we have brought together the objects and artworks in this exhibition.
Neolithic Axe Heads
Bronze Age Vessels
Selected British Pottery