The artist talks through his published collection of drawings before his new show opened in London.
Cedar Lewisohn is an artist and curator. He has recently been working on a series of public art works for the waterways of east London. In 2013 he organised The Hecklers, a large scale group exhibition for The New Art Gallery Walsall. Between 2005 and 2011 he worked for Tate, where in 2008 he curated the landmark Street Art exhibition. He has published two books and is currently working on a new project for the Jan Van Eyck Accademie, Maastricht.
Here, Lewisohn describes his new exhibition, Plywood Transmission: “I see the woodblocks as tools to make images from. But they are in a way images themselves. The woodblocks are a visual alphabet that is constantly expanding. Everything from Mesopotamian gods, Masonic symbols, scenes from places in London pertinent to me. The blocks are cut by hand with a router, and various woodcutting tools. I think I am a compulsive producer… I’m always drawing, writing, making things. The woodcuts and woodcut prints came out of a desire to slow the process down. I’m also attracted to the analogue nature of them. The very idea that they are not a digital, video, online, type of thing. I work with scale with the woodcuts and prints, because it’s unusual to see these types of objects so large. Woodcuts are typically small things done with fine pieces of wood. I use sheets of ply. The scale gives them a sense of theatre, and the audience is on the stage.
Watch a video of Cedar Lewisohn talking through his published collection of drawings here:
“The blocks themselves are stained with colour from previous use. It’s hard to place them, they look old, but also not from a specific moment, then also, it’s maybe this clash of various historic moments which make them contemporary. ‘Primitive’,’primitivism’ are contested words, from a contested art history. It’s another form of orientalism in some senses. So the woodblocks play with that space. They are about techno, they are about the future but they tap into something ancient to communicate that. It takes time for the information to be transmitted. I think, or hope, they are pop for future generations.”
Cedar Lewisohn: Plywood Transmission
Cock ‘N’ Bull Gallery: Tramshed
32 Rivington Street
London EC2A 3LX
Friday 12th December – Friday 9th January 2015