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Arnolfini Revisits Activities by the Artist Placement Group

BRISTOL.- The Artist Placement Group (APG) emerged in London during the 1960s. The organisation actively sought to reposition the role of artists within wider social contexts, including government and commerce, and played an important part in conceptual art of the 60s and 70s. Their members included John Latham, Barbara Steveni and Ian Breakwell, amongst others, and their social interventions engaged with and transformed institutional structures, through arranging placements in organisations that ranged from the Home Office to British Steel.

Barbara Steveni conceived and co-founded the Artist Placement Group (APG), in London in 1966. Steveni’s innovative concept, based on a more holistic and intuitive view of Art than was current at the time, would take another 20 years to enter the mainstream. APG, later renamed O+I, acted as the precursor to current notions of ‘Artist in Residence’ and public art programmes.

John Latham’s placement at the Scottish Office between October 1975 and March 1976 addressed ‘Urban Renewal, Derelict Land and Graphics Group’, for which Latham solved problems in unexpected artistic ways. During his placement an initial study using aerial photography resulted in subsequent ambitious proposals for the preservation of spoil heaps on derelict land covering 22,000 acres.

Barbara Steveni continues to revisit the work of APG (and their recent incarnation O+I), activating the archive of case studies through performances, interviews and walking tours. For this ‘in-focus’ display at Arnolfini, Steveni will revisit some of the activities of this seminal group, including their exhibition ‘Art & Economy’ at the Hayward Gallery in 1971, as well as key case studies from the APG archive.

Steveni is currently active as artist, curator and lecturer, in particular addressing Art and the ‘new’ Economics, Art and Business and ‘Socially Engaged Art Practice’ from and on behalf of the artist’s voice. Additionally, Steveni is engaged in a personal work under the title; I AM AN ARCHIVE, tracing through a series of walks, revisits and interviews, her life and role within APG / O+ I, in relation to today’s circumstance, and to current and future art practice.

Arnolfini | The Artist Placement Group | Barbara Steveni | "Art & Economy" | John Latham |

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