9 September to 7 November 2010

Exhibition curated for Raven Row, London

John Adams, Sensible Shoes, 1983
Courtesy the artist
Ian Bourn, Lenny's Documentary, 1978
Courtesy the artist

John Adams, Ian Bourn, Ian Breakwell, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, David Critchley, Catherine Elwes,
Roberta Graham, Steve Hawley, Susan Hiller, Stuart Marshall, Cordelia Swann and Graham Young

'Polytechnic' is an exhibition of video, installation and tape/slide works made between the late seventies and early eighties by a number of artists in the UK who were developing new relationships between 'experimental' media and ideas of narrative. The complex and hybrid works in the exhibition talk about autobiography, television, diaries, lost histories, sexuality, the communist bloc, popular culture, fictions, soap operas and murder.

Formal and structuralist work defined much experimental practice of the period. 'Polytechnic' explores how some artists developed new approaches to engage with personal concerns, and to reflect the social and political worlds in which they lived. Many of these artists were directly informed by contemporary debates in left politics, gay politics and feminism, and were engaging with a culture undergoing a profound change marked by the emergence of Thatcherism.

'Polytechnic' has a particular emphasis on video work. As well as the emergence of the domestic video recorder, the period covered by the exhibition saw artists gaining increasing access to video cameras and recording decks. This engagement with technology was encouraged through the development of media departments in Art schools and Polytechnics, where many of the artists studied and taught.

> Catalogue essay: Polytechnic

David Critchley, Pieces I Never Did, 1979
Courtesy the artist
Roberta Graham, Campo Santo, 1981
Courtesy the artist


Rachel Withers, 'Polytechnic', Art Forum XLIX no 5 Jan 2011
Mike Sperlinger, 'Looking Back (pick of the year)', Frieze Jan Feb 2011
Marcia E Vetrocq, 'Get away to Yesterday', Art in America December 2010
Denise Robinson, 'For The Untimely: Polytechnic', Camera Austria no 112
Collective. 'Polytechnic', Art Papers (USA) Jan/Feb 2011
Helen Sumpter, 'DonÕt Miss: Polytechnic', TimeOut 4-10 November
Max Zoller, 'Polytechnic', Art Monthly No 340 Oct 2010
Alina Astrova, 'Tips: Polytechnic', Kaleidoscope. Issue 08 Fall 2010
Colin Perry, 'Polytechnic Early British Video Art', Sight and Sound
Francesca Gavin, 'Polytechnic', Rough Version
Melissa Gronlund, 'A Return to Content? Polytechnic at Raven Row.' Rhizome 27 Oct
Sculpture Center, CuratorÕs Notebook Polytechnic 22 Oct 2010
Helen Wilson, 'Polytechnic Where Art You?' Blog
Pieternel Vermoortel, 'Three Exhibitions in London', Metropolis M
Rory Pilgrim, 'The Best of 2010', Metropolis M
Lauren Down, 'Polytechnic: come with us now on a journey to the 1970's', Snipe Oct 2010
Nichola McCartney, 'Polytechnic' Spectator Arts Blog 17 Sept