Common Property is the 22nd in a series of Jerwood Encounters exhibitions. Since 2008, the majority of the programme’s shows have been curated by artists, who have contributed insights into areas in which they have concerns. This year, Hannah Pierce, an artist and curator, has brought together six works by emerging and mid-career artists, to explore the issue of copyright in the digital age. The exhibition title is a reference to American artist Sol LeWitt, who said in 1973: “I believe that ideas once expressed, become the common property of all.”
This subject of copyright is a timely one. In October 2014, a change to UK legislation came into effect, allowing the parody of copyrighted works, on the premise that the parody meets two criteria: to evoke an existing work, while not rivalling the original, and to be considered humorous. Although the law is similar in Belgium, in January 2015, a Belgian court found the Antwerp-born artist Luc Tuymans guilty of plagiarism. His painting, A Belgian Politician (2011), in which he had used a photograph of the politician Jean-Marie Dedecker taken by Katrijn van Giel for a Belgian newspaper, was ruled too humourless to be a parody.
In the third commissioned piece, Transformative Use (2015), which is derived from a Disney character, artist and curator Antonio Roberts – like Knox in her painting Reproduction – displays an interest in the terminology that surrounds copyright. In addition, he exhibits a new series of brilliantly coloured video works that derive their titles from songs that have been the subject of court cases involving copyright infringement.
Read the full feature here. This exhibition’s been gettin’ quite a bit of a attention…