Second Guild: Seminars on John Ruskin

Seminar Series on John Ruskin | 02 March 2021 | Seminar 1 | Part 1-3

by Samson Kambalu, Ruskin School of Art and Emma Ridgway, Modern Art Oxford

Second Guild: Some Remarks on the Turning St Crumpet

A series of open performative seminars in which the artist and Ruskin tutor Samson Kambalu proposes a return to the radical John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) through a socialised praxis based around a notion of drawing and unrestricted economics, in anticipation of his solo show New Liberia at Modern Art Oxford, curated by Emma Ridgway, Chief Curator, and Amy Budd, Curator of Projects and Exhibitions.

The first two seminars presented by TORCH are primarily open to Ruskin students, Oxford academics, and invited guests. There will be a discussion and question time with Samson Kambalu and Emma Ridgway available at the end. The third and final event will highlight Kambalu’s major solo exhibition New Liberia in May 2021 at Modern Art Oxford and is open to all audiences.

Seminar 1  |  02 March 2021  |  17:30 – 18:30  |  Part 1-3

Audience: Ruskin students, Oxford academics, and invited guests
Registration: via Eventbrite (please register with your Oxford University email address) – if you prefer not to sign up via Eventbrite you can send an email to TORCH stating your name, your Oxford University email address and the event you want to attend.

Part 1  What is Drawing? Ruskin and Ontological Incompleteness

In which the artist explores Ruskin’s idea of drawing and animatic philosophy through Ruskin’s take on geology, botany, painting, drawing, and architecture – the artist as a “seer” and socialised sovereign individual.

Part 2  |  Unto This Last: Ruskin and Unrestricted Economics 

In which the artist explores Ruskin’s take on the political economy and the problematic of the gift – art criticism; art institutions; art collecting; patronage; philanthropy; radical politics; communism and utopia.

Part 3  |  Undefinable Thing:  Ruskin and Contradiction

In which the artist explores Ruskin’s contradictory approach through controversies that marked his life – rabid Toryism and religiosity; Gothic and Imperial atavism; authoritarianism; anti-Science; and interpassivity.

In which the artist re-imagines the Ruskin School of Art in light of a return to the radical Ruskin through socialised praxis around a notion of drawing and unrestricted economics.

Emma Ridgway is Chief Curator at Modern Art Oxford, leading the artistic programme of exhibitions and learning since 2015. Previously she was a curator at the Barbican Centre, The Royal Society of Arts, Serpentine Gallery, and Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi. She has degrees in fine art, art history and curating contemporary art from Goldsmiths and The Royal College of Art in London, and is a Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow. Ridgway has recently been awarded the post of Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator for the British Pavilion, 59th International Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2022.

Samson Kambalu is an artist and writer working in a variety of media, including site-specific installation, video, performance and literature. Born in Malawi Kambalu’s work fuses aspects of Chewa prestation culture, the anti-reification strategies of the Situationist movement and the Protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism and dissent. He has developed a praxis around psychogeographical cinema inspired by aspects of cinema of attractions. Samson Kambalu was included in Okwui Enwezor’s All the World’s Futures, Venice Biennale 2015. His recent solo exhibition History Without a Past at Muzee, Ostend, in 2020, was in conversation with Vincent Meessen’s project One.Two.Three which featured for Belgian Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2015. Samson Kambalu’s upcoming shows include a solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, Athens Biennale 2021, and ARS22 at Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, Finland. 

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