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Chris Smith
Now They Are Surrounded


The Guildhall Art Gallery

April 6 - September 4, 2005

curation of exhibition with accompanying symposium

Now They Are Surrounded website

Now They Are Surrounded consists of 144 canvases each measuring 26 by 31 centimetres. On the surface of each canvas is depicted a page of text that has been torn or cut in some way and then repaired with rather mangy sellotape. In other words, the work consists of 144 pictures. The pictures are framed and glazed in such a way as to leave a small gap between the edge of the canvas and the frame.


The event at the Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London inclusive of the exhibition, Now they are Surrounded (NTAS) and symposium What Work Does the Artwork Do? 2, 2005, was an extension of the debate initiated at the event What Work Does the Artwork Do?, 2003. It extended the questions into aspects of what we wanted the artwork to do and considered questions of definition, autopoeisis, autonomy, internality and institutional theories in regard to the context of this hang. The exhibition was itself an essay in practice. The placing of the 144 piece work was an intervention that made the work low against the assurance of late 19th C - early 20th C works of the permanent collection.

Now They Are Surrounded flyer

The papers and performances presented at the symposium offered a conversation with the context of the piece exhibited and the questions asked. This model of event, relating artwork as essay to Symposium was again offered at ZKM Kartlsruhr Germany and forms the basis for Systems Art.

The What Work Does the Artwork Do? series has also formed the basis of a special edition of the Journal of Visual Arts Practice.

In all cases the attempt was to place exhibition in a research context, to offer exhibition as part of the forum for discussion as equal to and explanation of symposium talk and text. This model of event of the negotiated exhibition and symposium has formed the way that the Visual Arts Practice Research Group constitutes its practice as critical engagement in debate about art’s talk.

Slideshow: Chris Smith - Now They Are Surrounded

What Work Does the Artwork Do? 2
The Guildhall, City of London
June 28 - 29, 2005

symposium website

Now They are Surrounded CD Catalogue:
Author(s) / Editor(s): Art & Language, Chris Smith and Linden Reilly
London Metropolitan University, 2005
ISBN No:1-899764-45-3

Please also refer to hardcopy item for this output.

related outcomes:
Chris Smith: What Work Does the Artwork do? A Question for Art?
Chris Smith: Now They Are Surrounded: Reconfigured
Linden Reilly: What Work Does the Artwork do?
Linden Reilly: What Work Does the Artwork do? A Question for Art?

back to Chris Smith home page

London Metropolitan University