‘I have to morph into a union with the clouds and rocks in order to be what I am.’
Caspar David Friedrich
Over lockdown I got obsessed with a certain aspect of American corporate law. In the mid two thousands, people in the United States started to vocally question whether corporations could be considered people. Already heavily debated within legal contexts, the idea of defining what counts as a person, known as ‘Corporate Personhood’, came to prominence as companies sought human like protections after donating incredible amounts to political parties (a practice which is limited to single individuals).
Anthropomorphising companies through this application of human rights could be considered the logical ‘next’ step of the global culture industry, amassing all agents into one simple system — brands and beings aligned an equal in all aspects. It made me think about persona, and identity, how artists often have reputations that precede them or inhabit characters or systems as a means to further their practice.
Artists are in the rhythm of their location all the time but exist in this image of distance.
They’re usually the stereotypical outliers, seen on the fringes. Individuals who retreat into their own subjectivity, to “work things out”, but art is fundamentally built on exchange, dialogues between people, and their friends and anyone who’s generous enough to listen.
These unofficial economies are what keep us all going, it’s not the faceless huge companies we depend on but our local industry, businesses and publics. How do we untangle the associations of art and artists from this mysterious separate world, and place them in the world we live?
This past year we’ve all spent so much time inhabiting and rediscovering our own dwellings, it seems so fitting to step away from the commercial gallery experience, and view art where we live, and work. Local business and spaces in Deptford, have generously given these Artists access, facilitating this exhibition of sorts, a gesture that has produced a show woven into the fabric of the community. Making visible the connections and generosities we all rely on as practitioners and inhabitants of our locality, demystifying and welcoming a new but familiar form of artist.
Access x Job Centre is a group exhibition featuring work by Artists Niamh Schmidtke and Rory Beard, both considering ideas of persona and the value of reception and exchange in our neoliberal, capital driven society.