Please be advised that Patrick Staff: The Foundation contains sexually explicit imagery and is recommended for adults only
Commissioned by Institute of Modern Art; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; and Spike Island, Bristol. Co-produced by Chisenhale Gallery and Spike Island
The Foundation is supported by Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, The Elephant Trust, the Genesis Prize, and the IMA’s 40th Anniversary Funds
With thanks to the Tom of Finland Foundation
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The Foundation is a major film installation by Patrick Staff co-commissioned by the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) with Chisenhale Gallery, London; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; and Spike Island, Bristol. In this new work Staff explores queer intergenerational relationships negotiated through historical materials. The film combines footage shot at the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles – home to the archive of the erotic artist and gay icon and a community of people that care for it – with choreographic sequences shot within a specially constructed set.
The legacy of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen (1920-1991), better known as Tom of Finland, spans multiple generations. His work made a considerable impact on masculine representation and imagery in post-war gay culture. The foundation was established in 1984 by Tom and his friend Durk Dehner to preserve his vast catalogue of homoerotic art, whilst endeavouring to – to quote the organisation’s website – ‘educate the public to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality.’ Today, Durk runs the organisation and lives in the house, along with a handful of other employees and artists.
Rather than focusing on Tom of Finland’s work, Staff’s film evokes the foundation as a set of relations. He explores how a collection is formed and constituted; the communities that produce and are produced by a body of work; and ideas of intergenerational relationships and care. Through observational footage of the house, its collections and inhabitants, the foundation is revealed as a domestic environment, a libidinal space, archive, office and community centre; a private space which is also the home of a public-facing organisation and the source of a widely dispersed body of images.
Patrick Staff (born 1987, UK) lives and works in London, UK, and Los Angeles, USA. Selected exhibitions, screenings, and performances include Scaffold see Scaffold, The Showroom, London; Art Turning Left, Tate Liverpool; L’Heure Des Sorcieres, Le Quartier, France (all 2014); Mental effort Before Action: 1-5A-5B, South London Gallery; A Factory As It Might Be (Bournville), International Project Space, Birmingham; Society is a Workshop, Banff Centre, Canada (all 2013); The Passive Edge of the Object, ICA, London; Chewing Gum for the Social Body, The Tanks, Tate Modern, London (both 2012). Staff took part in the LUX Associate Artists Programme in 2010/11 and was the inaugural White Building/Lux Collection Residency artist (2014).
Launch of The Green Room
The Green Room is a new dedicated project space at the IMA, highlighting projects with a connection to our region. The Green Room is not unlike its namesake at a theater or television station, where contributors meet before and after the event to engage in discussions that often differ from those in the limelight. These moments “just before” and “right after” provide a space for less scripted meetings and experiences.
The inaugural program will feature a solo exhibition by emerging Brisbane artist Dale Harding followed by a show by established Melbourne artist Juan Davila. Artists shortlisted for the Jeremy Hynes Award will present their works at the end of the year. There will also be live music events organised by Room 40's MONO and Liquid Architecture, along with talks, screenings, and performances.
The Green Room runs in parallel and relation to our exhibitions program, providing crucial space for extemporaneous encounters.
Notes to the Editor
The Foundation is Patrick Staff's first solo exhibition in Australia and is curated by IMA's Executive Directors, Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh;
Patrick Staff: The Foundation, is Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Co-produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Spike Island, Bristol;
The IMA's new programming initiative, The Green Room, will run in parallel and relation to our exhibitions program, providing permanent space for artworks, events and other projects with interesting connections to our local context;
Since its establishment in 1975, the IMA has been a leading venue for the production, presentation, and circulation of contemporary art in Australia;
The IMA focuses on commissioning new works by Australian and international artists at pivotal points in their practices, and connecting underrepresented artists with wider audiences;
The IMA is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, and from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian Federal, State, and Territory Governments. The IMA is a member of Contemporary Art Organisations Australia (CAOs);
For more information about Patrick Staff: The Foundation or the Green Room, please contact Communications Officer, Sarah D’Ardenne, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +61 (0)7 3252 5750.