Bold Tendencies

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When we speak of communion, we address a world not of deities but social relations. From spiritual sacraments to the fanfare of political marches, the blissed-out rapture of dancefloors to the solemn intimacy of prayer; from practices of shared land tenure to radical platforms of open-source software, grand ceremonial mysticism to humdrum workplace rituals. History shows that at its heart society has long been reproduced through acts of daily communion. Together they articulate a world held in common. Upheld through principles of connection, reverence, transition and memorial.

An analysis of the ways in which we come together – and often fail to do so – is central to understanding the emergencies we live in today. Established power thrives on dividing us from one another and our environment. Rivers are dammed, forests logged, waters and aquifers bottled and put to market. Labour movements are vilified, unions outlawed. Knowledge held in common is incarcerated in intellectual property and pharmaceutical patents, our social attention surrendered to bright atomising ledgers of spectacle. A vast architecture of desire and control suppresses the power of communities to connect with and for themselves.

To exchange intimate thoughts and feelings is more crucial than ever. We must unshackle the carceral effects of alienation, extremism and catastrophe that evermore divide and suppress us. Create antidotes to our epidemics of loneliness, conflict and despair that run riot through the desiccating fractures of broken political and economic systems. Create space not only for moments of collective ecstasy and revolutionary ferment, fuelling the fight for change, but for deeper and more profound reflection of our past, our ancestry and what connects us all on this Earth; we must rediscover lost knowledge, unearth alternative forms of being and feeling in the world.

There is no communion without community; no community without culture and creativity. Bold Tendencies will gather its 2024 programme under this broad and urgent theme, exploring how modern conceptions of communion structure the ways we experience, narrate and respond to social injustices and crises. How ritual, ecological connection and the consolidation of alternative communities gives meaning and power to artistic and political practice, energising Bold Tendencies and its principles of open access and enjoyment in its special, spectacular rooftop home.

Pianist Maki Namekawa recreates Keith Jarrett’s groundbreaking Köln Concert, and celebrated American singer Julia Bullock makes her Bold Tendencies debut with Japanese-American keyboardist and champion of the music of our time, Bretton Brown. Visionary sadboi-composer Oliver Leith immerses us in his addictive sonic world in a concert dedicated to his music for orchestra, in dialogue with Charles Ives and Franz Schubert

We celebrate James Baldwin, legendary writer and poet-prophet of the American Civil Rights Movement. Our multi-event homage, The Fire Next Time!, includes a 100th Birthday Concert with NYJO (National Youth Jazz Orchestra), led by Peter Edwards; a site-specific celebration of Nothing Personal, his work with Richard Avedon; a gathering with the London Review of Books; readings of Little Man, Little Man, Baldwin’s picture book for children; and a first opportunity to enter The Listening Room, with ‘La Maison Jimmy’ reconstructing Baldwin’s record collection as found in his final home in Saint-Paul de Vence, after his death in 1987. The second iteration of The Listening Room, ‘Prospect Cottage’, brings together EPs and LPs associated with iconic film-maker, activist and artist Derek Jarman.

The spectacular original live work Who Hurt You? is presented by maverick dance duo BULLYACHE, Courtney Deyn and Jacob Samuel, “one of the most bizarre new British pop phenomena, halfway between the underground and the mainstream, this duo operates in their own universe that mixes music, theatre and fashion” (Nadia Leal). Irish artist Oona Doherty returns to Bold Tendencies as Guest Artistic Director for Sadler’s Wells National Youth Dance Company, whose 32 dancers from towns, cities and villages across England present her uncompromising large-scale new work, Wall

Comprising 81 musicians from 20 countries across the Mediterranean Basin, the Orchestres des Jeunes de la Méditerranée makes a first ever UK appearance at Bold Tendencies in their 40th anniversary year. Led by Evan Rogister, their programme of multinational roots includes Dvořák’s much-loved Symphony for the New World, music by Florence Price, Leonard Bernstein and Hector Berlioz and a new original work  collectively composed by the orchestra’s players reflecting their multiple musical traditions.

The acclaimed Multi-Story Orchestra return for two programmes continuing their award-winning work with young people, led by choir leaders Fran Lobo, Abimaro Gunnell and Daniel Thomas: Bottled Up, illuminating the emotional intensity of youth; and the “gobsmackingly brilliant” (Artsdesk) live show Verified. George Barton and Siwan Rhys (GBSR Duo) play music for a summer evening: masterpieces for keyboards and percussion by George Crumb and Steve Reich, the latter now almost 90 and no stranger to our Peckham car park.

We are delighted to welcome Britain’s most musical family, all seven of the Kanneh-Mason siblings – Isata (piano), Braimah (violin), Sheku (cello), Konya (piano), Jeneba (piano), Aminata (violin and piano) & Mariatu (cello) – who assemble in the concrete concert hall for a one-of-a-kind concert, in celebration of this season of COMMUNION.

ABOUT SAELIA APARICIO

Saelia Aparicio (b. 1982, Valladolid, ES) lives and works in London. Her sculptures and installations shape a fictional, tongue-in-cheek world of ecology, feminism and allegory.

Working across functional sculpture, murals, blown glass and living plant life, she finds inspiration from classical mythology and the transformative hybrid forms found in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and pre-Columbian Meso-America, creating imaginary future characters and landscapes that question the relationship between the human body and its environment.

Playing with the human figure in subversive, metamorphic, and at times, humorous style, Aparicio uses her work to explore universal issues of existentialism, migration, urban infrastructure, pollution and the climate crisis.

Aparicio graduated from The Royal College of Art, London, in 2015, having previously studied at University of Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real, graduating in 2009.

Recent solo exhibitions include with MUSAC, León, ES (2022); FUMI, London, UK (2022); The Ryder, Madrid, ES (2019); and TURF Projects, Croydon, UK (2017). In 2021 her work was selected for Survey II, a touring exhibition across Jerwood Space, London; G39, Cardiff; and Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK.

Aparicio was recipient of the Generaciones 2019, a prestigious award for emerging artists in Europe, and was commissioned by Serpentine Galleries for their General Ecology programme. She has delivered public programming at Open School East (2022), CA2M Madrid (2023) and EBC, Bristol (2024). 

In 2024 Aparicio will present a duo-show with Jong-Wan Jang at Cylinder, Seoul, KR, and new work for Coster, an outdoor sculpture project in Pollensa, Palma de Mallorca, ES. In 2025 Aparicio will realise a solo exhibition at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead.

ABOUT ADAM FARAH-SAAD

Adam Farah-Saad (b. 1991, London, UK) lives and works in London. Farah-Saad – also known as free.yard – uses a range of media and cultural references to evoke coming-of-age memories tied to a sense of place and time, to relationships, love and loss.

These include performative gestures, moving image, sculpture, poppers and iPods, through to walking, cruising and microdosing. Farah-Saad reframes these signifiers of youth and nostalgia to create moving portraits of the shifting – and at times conflicting – memories that make up our constantly changing lives.

His work sits between the mnemonic, with objects and places sparking associations with profound subjects of one’s relationship to death, sex, friendship, addiction and healing, and a process of mapping, where revisiting and re-exploring past experience forms a large part of his practice.

From Wood Green Shopping Centre to Staples Corner and Brent Cross, Farah-Saad aesthetically highlights and dwells on various ephemeral and poetic moments to open up forms of critical reflection and connection in order to survive and grow as a human.

Farah-Saad graduated from Camberwell College of Arts, London, in 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include at Public Gallery, London, UK (2023); Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2021); and South London Gallery, London, UK (2018). In 2022 he was on the Curatorial Committee of the Brent Biennale. He is the recipient of the Focus Stand Prize 2023 at Frieze London, the 2021 LOEWE FOUNDATION / Studio Voltaire Award, and the South London Gallery Postgraduate Residency Award (2017).

In 2024 Farah-Saad will present new work in a duo-show with Elvis Universe, The face of you, my substitute for love, at Metroland Studios in London, and in an upcoming group exhibition at Public Gallery. Farah-Saad’s work is included in the collections of Tate and the Arts Council Collection.

ABOUT OLU OGUNNAIKE

Olu Ogunnaike (b. 1986, London, UK) lives and works in London. His practice lies between sculpture, printmaking, performance and installation where he explores personal and communal identity through the medium of wood.

Taking trees and the products made from them as repositories of memory, Olu cites different timbers and their histories as markers of encounters: between past and present; between people and the spaces they inhabit.

Interested in the parallels that can be drawn between humans and trees, Ogunnaike traces the moment a tree is uprooted from one geographical setting and placed in another, where it might be transformed.

This story – of the composite and accumulative nature of our identities – is inextricably linked to community, labour and the transaction of exchange.

Ogunnaike graduated from The Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 2021. In 2024 he will present a solo exhibition, Fix Your Face, at Spike Island in Bristol and be part of Entangled Pasts, a major survey of historical and contemporary art at The Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Recent solo exhibitions include An Enclosed Garden, gb agency, Paris, FR (2022); I’d Rather Stand, Museum Folkwang, Essen, DE (2021); Crumbs, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, FR (2021); The Same Way You Came In, The Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2021) and London Plain, Cell Project Space, London, UK (2020).

ABOUT YOKO ONO

Yoko Ono (b. 1933, Tokyo, JP) lives and works in New York, US. Internationally admired for her restless creativity and dedication to issues of social and ecological justice, Yoko Ono is a leading figure in the contemporary artworld.

Her work across art, music and activism is deeply embedded in the advocacy for global peace, addressing, over a 70-year career, questions of solidarity, togetherness and healing in face of political division and alienation on both a global and local stage.

Ono was the first woman admitted to the philosophy program at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, where she studied before moving to New York in 1953. By 1960 Ono had become a vital part of the New York avant-garde and the international Fluxus movement. Her boundary-pushing early works include the pioneering feminist performance work, Cut Piece, and her book of collected conceptual instructions, Grapefruit, both 1964.

By 1968, Ono began collaborating in art, music, and peace activism with her partner and husband John Lennon. As a singer and songwriter, Ono has released fourteen studio albums and eight collaborative albums, including the 1981 Grammy award winning Album of the Year, Double Fantasy.

Ono’s artworks and films are widely exhibited internationally and include numerous prestigious museum and private collections. In 2009 she was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Venice Biennale.

ABOUT MARTIN PARR

Martin Parr CBE (b. 1952, Surrey, UK) lives and works in Bristol. Legendary British photographer, Parr is renowned for his distinctive style that captures the oddities and humours of everyday British life.

Over his 50 year career Parr has earned an international reputation for his oblique approach to social documentary, for the use of innovative imagery and a now distinct personal style of saturated colours and satirical images.

In the 1980s, Parr’s work reflected on the social decline and distress of the working class during the era of Margaret Thatcher, and in recent years he has used subtle forms of criticism, seduction and humour to explore contemporary themes of leisure, consumption and communication both at home and abroad.

Entertaining and accessible, his work shows us, in a penetrating way, how we choose to live today, how we present ourselves to others, and what we value in society.

Parr has exhibited his work globally since 1974, including major solo exhibitions at The National Portrait Gallery and The Photographer’s Gallery, London, The National Centre of Photography, Paris and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Japan.

Parr is prolific in his output and has published over a hundred books of his photography. His work has been collected by many leading museums, including Tate, London, the Pompidou, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Parr has won many awards throughout his career including the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Award, Photokina’s Eric Solomon Award for photojournalism and in 2017, Sony World Photography Award for Outstanding Contribution to Photography.

Parr has been a member of the Magnum agency since 1994 and was President from 2013 – 2017. In 2013 Parr was appointed the visiting professor of photography at the University of Ulster. Parr founded the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol in 2014.

OUR 2024 PROGRAMME IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

With thanks to our COMMUNION 2024: Founding Friends

Juliet Barclay
Edmund Barry
Kevin Barry
Lena & Nathalie Baume
Brian Boylan
May Calil & Tom Dingle
Janine Catalano
John Cavanagh
Sadie Coles
Carolyn Dailey
Ronojoy Dam
Isabella de Sabata
John & Emma Donnelly
Maryam Eisler
Sue Grayson-Ford
Caroline Issa
Marcelle Joseph
Caroline Karim-Kassar
James Lingwood & Jane Hamlyn
Fatima Maleki
Penny Mason
Naomi Milgrom
The Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Theo & Fiona Nzegwu
Anne Pitcher
Susan Spindler & Peter Brown
Sara Stewart
Christoph & Marion Trestler
Felicity Waley-Cohen
Don Weniz

& those who wish to remain anonymous.

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