This Has Nothing To Do With Politics


Cordelia Cembrowicz  |  Chris Paul Daniels  |  Ana Fernández ­Aballí-Altamirano  |  Ella Finer  |  Rose Gibbs  |  Marlene Haring  |  Olivia Hicks  |  Noga Inbar  |  Virgile Ittah  |  Vesta Kroese  |  Ratna Lachman  |  Ekua McMorris  |  Oscar Murillo  |  PA Skantze  |  Jack Tan  |  Nicola Thomas  |  Geoff Tibbs  |  Richard Wentworth

Exhibition dates:    27 – 30 November 2014
Open hours:   12.00 – 6.00pm, daily
Visual/Performance Debate:   6.00-8.00pm, Thur 27 November 2014
Performance Evening:    6.00-8.30pm, Fri 28 November 2014
Roundtable (by invitation):    4-6pm, Sat 29 November 2014

The Function Room (above The Cock Tavern)
23 Phoenix Road, London NW1 1HB


If history could be folded, where would you put the crease?, Richard Wentworth 2014

“… we have today a new cultural task: to live the inevitable with a relaxed soul. To call forth a big wave of withdrawal, of massive dissociation, of desertion from the scene of the economy, of non-participation in the fake show of politics … We are not going to witness a cathartic event of revolution, won’t see the sudden breakdown of state power. In the coming years, we’ll witness a sort of revolution without a subject.”- from After the Future, 2011, Franco ‘Biffo’ Berardi

This exhibition brings together artists who are alert to or are informed by social and political interest, and yet whose works occupy a distance to politics. The show explores this gap and asks if this ambivalence is a politically productive one and whether this dissociation in itself could be a form of resistance to the limitations of how one can be politically engaged today.

Taking Berardi’s notion of “withdrawal” or to resist “with a relaxed soul”, the exhibition also draws a connection between artists’ dispassion towards politics and the general disaffection with politics today. It prompts a number of questions around the idea of ‘inactivism’:

  • How do attitudes of refusal challenge histories and engaged approaches to political resistance?
  • How can methodologies of art or performance-making help us envisage a political engagement that is outside current frameworks?
  • How do artistic enquiries contribute to the praxis of political resistance, and vice versa?

The exhibition will also feature works by Nicola Thomas and Rose Gibbs who undertook short residencies with JUST West Yorkshire, a human rights and racial justice NGO based in Bradford.

Visual/Performance Debate
Thursday 27 November 2014, 6.00-8.00pm

Collapsing the difference between rational argument and artistic expression, there will be a visual/performance debate comprising ‘speakers’ on both sides who will present performances, images or spoken word on the motion: ‘This House believes that art has nothing to do with politics’.

For:   PA Skantze, Noga Inbar, Ella Finer
Against:    Richard Wentworth, Ekua McMorris, Geoff Tibbs

Performance Evening
Fri 28 November 2014, 6.00-8.30pm

6.00pm Marlene Haring,  Solo Show (Back Bar)
Visitors are invited to enter and participate in an installation which is a bar for one guest at a time. The work/bar will also be open on the evening of 27 Nov 2014.

7.00pm Rose Gibbs,  Slogans for Becoming
The audience is invited to engage in a collective reading and repetition of historical speeches that explores the division and coming together of the individual and the collective.

7.45pm Jack Tan,  Call and Response
Jack Tan will present a call in the form of a performance lecture comprising speech(es), text and/or song on ‘Radical Refusal and the Undercommons’.
Responders: PA Skantze, Ratna Lachman, Ana Fernández-Aballí Altamirano

Saturday 29 November 2014, 4.00-6.00pm

A number of art, design and curatorial collectives will participate in a roundtable to discuss their experiences of operating within the current political climate, with a view of exchanging current knowledge of social and artistic practices, and to establish a supportive network. Contact Jack Tan if you would like to join the roundtable.

For more information, contact Jack Tan at

In association with the Centre for Performance and Creative Exchange and Dept of Drama Theatre & Performance, University of Roehampton