Rules of Freedom

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Collyer Bristow presents Rules of Freedom, Curated by Rosalind Davis

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela

"Rules and freedom are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. Rules provide freedom.” Tim Challies

Juan Bolivar, Carla Busuttil, Simone Bynoe, Paula Chambers, Alice Cunningham, Ana Čvorović, Kazz Douie, Lucas Dupuy, Alastair Gordon, Kirsty Harris, Justin Hibbs, Andrea Jespersen, Evy Jokhova, Peter Kennard, Peter Liversidge, David Lock, Alex March, Megan McLatchie, Vanessa Mitter, Hugh Mendes, Judith Tucker, Toby Ursell, Virginia Verran, Ben Woodeson.

Private View: 10 October 6-9pm

Exhibition continues 11 October- 13 Feb 2019

Collyer Bristow Gallery, 4 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4TF

Rules of Freedom - a rhetorical oxymoron or fact?  Freedom requires rules, laws and clear parameters of some sort - transparent systems; a democracy where people have free speech, where people can protest / vote / strike about that which matters to them.  After so many years of men and women building a civil society that seeks to make the world freer, fairer and more progressive, whether through the vote for women and the working classes in the People’s Representation Act 100 years ago, the civil rights movement, political freedoms, LGBTQ+ rights or the freedom of movement, the world now seems to be questioning the very rules of freedom. Where are we now?

In the 21st century digital age we are becoming aware that the freedoms that we have come to take for granted and our democracy is under threat. Fake News skews votes, phones are hacked, propaganda prevails, social media bends the truth. Propaganda has become an invasive and evasive aspect of our societies. How can we untangle the spin or find the truth that we are fed in our new 24-hour news cycles and information saturated context? What information can be trusted when every truth or fact can be denied or revised?

The title of this exhibition comes from a Nathan Davis song; a jazz musician who in the late 1950’s and 1960’s as his peers did, broke down past jazz conventions to get beyond their limitations. The development of Free Jazz was not only a rejection of certain musical beliefs and ideas, but a reaction to the oppression and experience of black America, allowing musicians to speak freely and without censorship through this new language of the social tensions of racial integration and the civil rights movement. Creative freedoms also require parameters- artists are often at the frontiers of free expression, using it to push at boundaries and question societal norms, values and laws. This is an exhibition that celebrates emancipation, rules and rule breakers and looks at how these impact upon identity, the human condition and our experiences. From themes interrogating feminism, LGBTQ+, migration and freedom of movement it also reflects upon the impact of Freedom of speech, conflicts of power as well as considering rules that should be put in place to protect social justice and safeguard not only our histories but our future and our world. The exhibition also celebrates artists from diverse and international backgrounds; Bosnia, Denmark, Jamaica, Johannesburg, Russia, South Africa, South America, Zimbabwe and the UK from the ages of 23-69.

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