Gert & Uwe Tobias and Diane Arbus

Gert & Uwe Tobias and Diane Arbus

Nottingham Contemporary

July 15, 2010

Gert & Uwe Tobias

Diane Arbus:
ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with the Art Fund

17 July – 3 October 2010

Nottingham Contemporary
Nottingham NG1 2GB
info [​at​]

For our fourth exhibition season since opening in November last year we are presenting the first exhibition in the UK by German/Romanian artists Gert & Uwe Tobias and an outstanding collection of some 70 works by legendary American photographer Diane Arbus.

The Tobias twins have acquired a growing reputation for their distinctive, jointly authored repertoire of large woodprints, small paintings on paper, typewriter drawings, collaged books and ceramic sculptures on elaborate geometric stands. The exhibition consists entirely of new work in each of these idioms made for the exhibition, which they will assemble within a wall painting installation drawing on the legacy of Constructivist exhibition design. Taken together the works evoke a fictitious world idiosyncratically mined from various folk and popular visual idioms, especially idioms relating to Romanian customs, or rather, cultural expectations of those customs. Their performative work turns the viewers into anthropologists stumbling on a compulsive culture whose codes can’t be cracked. Their Carnivalesque marks, birdmen and skeletons remain cheerfully ghoulish enigmas. In their work, Modernism and the Dark Ages inexplicably synthesize.

Diane Arbus’s compellingly honest style of photography paved the way for the work of many contemporary artists. Her distinctive approach is marked by the directness of her portraiture, and by her ability to find the familiar in the strange and discover the unusual in the ordinary. Arbus undertook ‘to photograph everybody’, including circus and freak-show performers, transvestites, nudists and people with learning disabilities. The resulting portraits are bold and frank, but they also reflect the level of trust that Arbus worked hard to establish with her subjects, creating a complex, collaborative relationship that underpins the images, and invests them with much of their power.

This selection of Arbus’s work is from the ARTIST ROOMS collection and was put together by Anthony d’Offay in collaboration with the artist’s estate. It is one of the finest collections of her work. The exhibition also features a small number of loans from private collections. ARTIST ROOMS On Tour is an inspired partnership with independent art charity the Art Fund, and the Scottish Government, making available the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international contemporary art to galleries throughout the UK. ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments.

The five artists featured in our Artists’ Cinema programme this season expand on aspects of the two exhibitons: Berlinmuren by Lars Laumann, Subtitles by Anders Kreuger, Caligula by Alessandro Pessoli, Real Snow White by Pilvi Takala and Spook House by Cameron Jamie. Our public programme features lectures by Jamie, Kreuger, writers Brian Dillon, Geoff Dyer, Germaine Greer and Howard Nemerov, a new performance by Marcia Farquhar and performed soundtracks to the exhibitions by Thomas Bloch and Origami Biro.

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Nottingham Contemporary

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July 15, 2010

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