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Kieran Leach : Looking at People Looking at Art in the Gallery from the Studio

Kieran Leach : Looking at People Looking at Art in the Gallery from the Studio

Division of Labour, East Philip St c/o Paradise Works M32LA
21th July - 30th August 2022

Picture Buster Keaton’s face, and look into the gallery.

Part IV in Division of Labour’s ‘Looking at’ series features artist Kieran Leach, whose sculptures take on new depths in ‘deadpan.’ Leach’s sculptures show us a conceptual and formal approach that could, at first, be read as humorous insular activities, that is, in-jokes and self-referenced nods to art making and art history. Perhaps a sculptural equivalent of Mark Tansey in painting whereby these works “address a split that Conceptual Art created in the divergence of skill in craft-based labour and newly recognized artistic skills with immaterial production.”1

Just as Keaton looks at the audience, as the walls around him reveal themselves to be a stage set or cinema screen, where the site of production, audience and display all merge as one, this show in both the artist’s studio and the gallery space. Leach and Division of Labour each open discussion of the shared transnational locations of where art is made and then displayed, and further, how do artist communities share and develop knowledge.

“The artist could be seen as self-controlled worker making art in isolation and at the same time working collectively in clusters or ‘innovation systems’”2 they, we, transfer knowledge through “flexible production structured around short-term relationships between artists (that is for example, private views, talks, studio groups and parties) and external partners” (galleries, collectors, group shows, talks, parties, critics and curators)3

1 Roberts, J. 2007 The intangibilities of form Skill and deskilling in art after the readymade, New York Verso
2 Bain, A. 2005 Constructing an Artistic Identity Work, employment and society 19 1 25-46
3 Leadbeater, C. and Oakley, K. 1999 The independents: Britain’s new cultural entrepreneurs

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