ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

Better Books: Art, Anarchy and Apostasy

03 Nov 2012 - 06 Jan 2013

Better Books, 92-94 Charing Cross Road ©/photo: Richard Friedman, Oakland
Der blau bemalte John Latham in den Kulissen der Royal Albert Hall, 11. Juni 1965 in Erwartung der „post-Skoob argument“-Performance

© The John Latham Estate
„The Psychedelic Scene -- A part of the New London Underground", Town for Men, März 1967,
(Mitglieder und Redaktion der International Times,
Von links nach rechts, Reihe hinten: V. I. Lenin, Barry Miles, Peter Stansill, Sue Miles, Roger Whelan, David Z. Mairowitz;
Reihe Mitte: Jeff Nuttall, Jim Haynes, Tom McGrath, Christine Uren;
Reihe vorne: Jack Henry Moore und John Hopkins

© British Artists' Film and Video Study Collection, Central St Martins, Foto: Adam Ritchie
John Sharkey, Poster des Destruction in Art Symposium, 1966

© John Sharkey
Luke Fowler: „All Divided Selves“, 2011,
Filmstill, Video, Farbe, 93 Minuten.

© The Modern Institute, Glasgow und LUX, London
Luke Fowler: „All Divided Selves“, 2011,
Filmstill, Video, Farbe, 93 Minuten.

© The Modern Institute, Glasgow und LUX, London
Luke Fowler: „All Divided Selves“, 2011,
Filmstill, Video, Farbe, 93 Minuten.

© The Modern Institute, Glasgow und LUX, London
Jeff Nuttall: „My Own Mag“, Nr. 9, November 1964,
Mit Beiträgen von: John Latham, Allen Ginsberg, R. Creely,Tom McGrath, Dave Wilcocks, Bill Butler, P. Barry, William S. Burroughs

© The Jeff Nuttall Estate
An exhibition at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art

In the 1950s and 1960s, London underwent a cultural revolution, which changed forever the way contemporary art would be seen and set off a radical reformulating of artistic creation. United in their disbelief in the well-established cultural norms, the post-war generation of artists, poets and writers found new ways to distance themselves from the previous generation. Many of these artists first met one another and took refuge at Tony Godwin’s Charing Cross bookstore "Better Books". With the successful concept under the management of Bill Butler, Barry Miles and Bob Cobbing, "Better Books" became not only a haven but also the platform and "voice" of the explosively radical spirit within London. The bookshop enabled and initiated meetings, gave room for ideas, and became a sanctuary for numerous avant-garde artists, poets, filmmakers, musicians and writers.

The exhibition "Better Books: Art, Anarchy and Apostasy" at ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art presents the artworks, films, and poems that bore witness to this movement, as well as rarely shown photographs, ephemera, and additional archive material. This presentation gives a deep insight into the scene around "Better Books" from which a multitude of activities and events emerged, such as "The International Poetry Incarnation", Gustav Metzger's "Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS)", The People Show, the foundation of the London Filmmakers' Cooperative or John Latham's and Jeffrew Shaw's "Book Plumbing"-events.

For the first time it will be possible to see and to experience a live presentation of Gustav Metzger's re-fabrication of his own work "Earth from Space (revisited)." The project (1966−2012) belongs to Metzger’s earliest experiments with liquid crystals, which became the basis for his psychedelic light object. The seldom shown work "Sound Hat" (1970) by Annea Lockwood, of which 15 copies were produced for Henri Chopin’s "OU," is likewise a part of the show along with a documentation of Criton Tomazos's unfinished "Cage" project.

Additionally, early works by Jeff Nuttall can be seen, as well as the bizarre constructions of Bruce Lacey and also John Latham's scultupture "The Laws of England". Films by Stephen Dwoskin, Pip Benveniste, John Latham, Jeff Keen, Peter Whitehead, Piero Heliczer and many others form the mise-en-scène of the exhibition at ZKM. Also present will be documents and publications by, among others, Bob Cobbing, Jeff Nuttall, Alexander Trocchi and Dom Sylvester Houdard.

Pip Benveniste, William S. Burroughs, Bob Cobbing, Stephen Dwoskin, Group H, Piero Heliczer, Dom Sylvester Houdard, Jeff Keen, Bruce Lacey, John Latham, Annea Lockwood, London Filmmakers' Cooperative, Gustav Metzger, Jeff Nuttall, The People Show, Jennifer Pike, John Rowan, Criton Tomazos, Alexander Trocchi, Werner Schreib, John Sharkey, Jeffrey Shaw, Islwyn Watkins, Peter Whitehead, and many more.

Curator: Rozemin Keshvani

Accompanying Program

Fri, December 14, 2012
8 p.m., ZKM_Media Theater, admission 5 €
Film screening "Pilgrimage From Scattered Points" (2006)
by Luke Fowler
A film about British composer Cornelius Cardew
Introduction and discussion with Luke Fowler

9.15 p.m.
Concert with Luke Fowler and Richard Youngs (UK)
Electronic modulations and cosmic synthesizer-experiments

Sat, December 15, 2012
6 p.m., ZKM_Lecture Hall, admission free
Film screening "All Divided Selves" (2011)
by Luke Fowler
A film about the Scottish psychoanalyst Ronald D. Laing
Introduction and discussion with Luke Fowler

In cooperation with Flat Time House, London

Tags: William S. Burroughs, Cornelius Cardew, Henri Chopin, Luke Fowler, John Latham, Gustav Metzger