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David Mabb

Staff details

PositionProgramme Leader MFA Fine Art (Studio Practice)
Department Art
Email d.mabb (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7919 7816
David Mabb

David Mabb has been working with the designs of 19th century designer and socialist William Morris for about fifteen years. William Morris thought that interior design had a fundamental role to play in the transformation of everyday life. 

This essentially political motivation - a commitment to the radical potential of design - is behind much of his work as a designer and craftsman and the setting up of Morris & Co. Morris' designs constituted a radical break with the orthodoxy of neo-Gothic of his time. They are highly schematized representations of nature, where it is always summer and never winter; the plants are always in leaf, often flowering, with their fruits available in abundance, ripe for picking, and with no human labor in sight.

Mabb's paintings, photographs, textiles and videos all, in different ways, work with and against Morris' utopian designs by contrasting them with other forms of modernist production, including Malevich, Rodchenko, Stepanova and Popova paintings and designs, modernist architecture and photographs of industry. Mabb never simply paints or covers over the Morris pattern with another image, elements of the Morris pattern always poke or burst through. This combination produces an unstable picture space that is never fixed, where a Morris pattern and the other image are never able to fully merge or separate.

Professional Projects

David's work has been featured in solo exhibitions presented by the Contemporary Art Society in London, the Jaipur Heritage International Festival and the Queens Gallery in New Delhi, and the Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto. His work has also been shown at the Centre for International Modern Art Gallery in Calcutta, Habitat Centre in New Delhi, the Crafts Council Gallery, Tate Britain and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and the Gazon Rogue Gallery in Athens.

David has curated shows for the York City Art Gallery, Bluecoat Gallery, 

 

CURATING

2000        

Problems of Everyday Life, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, with Don Bury, Isobel Chacon, Volker Eichelman, Kevin Francis Gray, Robert Harper Jones, Yasu Ishige, Alison Jones, Lynne Marsh, Andrew Olssen and Victoria Putler.

2001        

Critical Video Lounge, York City Art Gallery, York as part of SightSonic, with K R Buxey, Volker Eichelmann and Ruth Mclennan, Mark Harris and Pete Lloyd Lewis, Janet Hodgson, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, David Mabb, Johannes Maier and Angus Wyatt.

2002        

Blow up your TV, York City Art Gallery, York as part of SightSonic 2002, (curated with Janet Hodgson) with Amanda Beech, Don Bury, K R Buxey, Volker Eichelmann / Jonathan Faiers / Roland Rust, Christoph Girardet, Janet Hodgson, Pete Lloyd Lewis, David Mabb, Sheena Macrae, Matthias Müller, Abigail Reynolds, Paul Rooney, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol.

Critical Home Video, Artspace, Peterborough, Canada touring to Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Contemporary Art Museum, New Plymouth, New Zealand and Latitude 53, Edmonton, Canada with Don Bury, K R Buxey, Volker Eichelmann and Ruth Maclennan, Mark Harris and Peter Lloyd Lewis, Janet Hodgson, Yasu Ishige, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, David Mabb, Sheena Macrae, Johannes Maier, Kate Smith, Angus Wyatt.

2004        

William Morris, “ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich” an exhibition by David Mabb, Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, Manchester.

2005        

Death is Part of the Process? Void, Derry with Jane Harris, Gerard Hemsworth, Kapitza, Bashir Makhoul, Pam Skelton, Annie Whiles.

2011        

Utopia Ltd. Wexford Art Centre and the Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, (curated with Mary-Ruth Walsh) with Blaise Drummond, Brendan Earley, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, David Mabb, Lizi Sanchez and Mary-Ruth Walsh.

Conferences

Conferences, talks since 2000

2000        

Problems of Everyday Life, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool.

David Mabb, Latitude 53 Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta.

The Decorating Business, Oakville Galleries, Ontario.

2001                 

In Conversation, part of “Sightsonic 2001”,York City Art Gallery, York.

Four9one, part of “Sightsonic 2001”,York City Art Gallery, York.

2002                 

Open House, CIMA Gallery, Kolkata, India.

David Mabb, Raider of the Lost Archive, part of “Out of the Archive”, London School of Economics.

Living in a Material World as part of “Art Textiles 3”, Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Helen Baker and Kate Smith, Waygood Gallery, Newcastle.

In Conversation, as part of “Sightsonic 2002”.York Art Gallery, York.

2003                 

David Mabb Works 1998-2002, British School at Rome, Rome.

Locate and Classify: New approaches to curating the crafts, Second International Crafts Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle.

Utility and Ornament, The Showroom, Sheffield in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University as part of “Transmission: Speaking and Listening”.

2004                 

Wish You Were Here. Waygood Gallery, Newcastle.

Overlap Symposium, Tihaney International Postgraduate Program, The Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Tihaney, Hungary.

Ministering to The Swinish Luxury of The Rich, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

An evening with David Mabb and William Morris, Wallpaper History Society, Coles, London.

Useful Work Versus Useless Toil, William Morris Society of Canada, Emmanuel College, Victoria University, Toronto.

2005        

Enthusiasm, Neil Cummings and Marysia Lewandowska, “Sunday Sightlines”, Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Death is Part of the Process? Curators talk, Void, Derry.

Artists Talks, There is Always an Alternative, Temporary Contemporary, London.

Smash the Bourgeoisie! Victory to the Decorating Business! Or, William Mabb in the Work of David Morris. Plenary Lecture. “Morris in the 21st Century. The 50th Anniversary Conference of the William Morris Society”. Royal Holloway College, Surrey.

2006        

Smash the Bourgeoisie! Victory to the Decorating Business! Or, William Mabb in the Work of David Morris. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

Art into Everyday Life as part of “My world: New Subjectivities in Design”, The British Council, The Contemporary Art Centre and The Academy of Art and Design, Vilnius.

On the Passage of A Few Patterns through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: William Mabb in the Work of David Morris 1998-2006 as part of “Riffs on Pattern”, Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto.

David Mabb as part of the “Wallpaper Study Day”, at the V&A and the Serpentine Gallery, London.

Thomas Demand, Serpentine Gallery, London.

2007        

Rhythm 69, “William Morris Research Seminar”, University of Northampton.

2008        

Colin Darke’s The Capital Paintings inCreativity and Commodity”, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin.

Rhythm 69, Historical Materialism First North American Conference, York University, Toronto.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”: William Morris and Kitsch. Part of “Why is everything for sale?” Goldsmiths, University of London.

2009        

Commodity Form, The Bluecoat, Liverpool.

William Morris and the Constructivists. What went wrong? Part ofConstructivism and the Art of Everyday Life”, Tate Modern, London. In collaboration with The Open University and the Research Forum, Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

Everyday Utopias, part of Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization: Contemporary Art in Britain and Asia, Hong Ik University, Seoul.

Art into Everyday Life, part of “The Ghosts of the Past: everyday life 20 years after the fall of Communism”, University of East London.

Allan Sekula’s The Lottery of the Sea: A Screening and Discussion. Xenos research group at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Rhythm 69’: Morris/Richter/Malevich. An everyday utopia? Part of “Is the Future Past” Goldsmiths, University of London.

Chto delat/What is to be done? Sixth Historical Materialism Annual Conference. SOAS and Birkbeck, London.

2010        

Proposals for a Socialist Colony. Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Critical Realism, A Screening of Alan Sekula’s Lottery of the Sea and Symposium. CentreCATH, University of Leeds.

The Constructivists and the appropriation of the designs of William Morris. Part of “William Morris: Radicalism and Aesthetics”, Canadian Society of Aesthetics, Congress 2010, Concordia University, Montreal.

William Morris Interventions. The Cuming Museum, London.

David Mabb’s Collaboration with William Morris. Art Colloquia Lecture in association with“Useful & Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites” University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware.

The Morris Kitsch Archive, in association with“Useful & Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites” Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, Delaware.

Inspired by Morris, William Morris Gallery, London.

Utopia Reconstructed, in “Radicalism in Contemporary Art and Literature” with China Mieville and Caroline Arscott. Historical Materialism Annual Conference. SOAS, London.

Street Art of the Russian Revolution: Students, Teachers, Artists in “Cultures of Occupation and Demonstration: 2010/1968/1917”. Marxism in Culture, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

2011         

Utopia Ltd. Wexford Art Centre, Wexford.

Art. Is There an Alternative? Goldsmiths, University of London.

The Morris Kitsch Archive, Penelope Fitzgerald Memorial Address, William Morris Society, Kelmscott Coach House, London.

Utopia Ltd. Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda.

Redesigning the Beautiful: Morris, Mabb, and the Politics of Wallpaper, “Rethinking William Morris, Rethinking Ourselves”, University of Ottawa.

William Morris, ‘The Campaign for Drawing’ at “William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth”. Two Temple Place, London.

2012        

On the Passage of A Few Patterns through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: David Mabb’s appropriations of William Morris 1999-2011. The Courtauld Institute, in conjunction withWilliam Morris: Story, Memory, Myth”. Two Temple Place, London.

Speaker part of“Lineages of Modernism and the Avant-Garde”, Historical Materialism Annual Conference. SOAS, London

2013        

Meet the Artist, Gallery talk ‘Regime Change Begins at Home’,William Morris Gallery, London.

David Mabb: in conversation, part of “…how is it towards the east” Calvert 22 Gallery, London.

Regime Change Begins at Home for The Friends of the William Morris Gallery, William Morris Gallery, London.

Protest Paintings as part of ‘Heckler’ Trade Gallery, Nottingham.

William Morris in the work of David Mabb as part of ‘How We Make and How We Might Make’, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge.

Off with his head! Reworkings of Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International and monuments to Lenin in art since the 1960s, part of 'Avant-Garde', Historical Materialism Annual Conference. SOAS, London

2014

Announcer, as part of “And Painting? Questioning contemporary painting”, Facudade de Bela- Artes da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal.

David Mabb: In Conversation with Morgan Quaintance, Focal Point Gallery, Southend on Sea.

Announcer, Peer Sessions, Focal Point Gallery, Southend on Sea.

The Decorating Business: William Morris Wallpaper and Constructivism as part of 'The Wallpaper of Revolution' with Ulrich Lehmann, Open University Camden Centre, London.

But what does it mean to paint politically? Part of "Commitment in Painting", Paintclubeast in collaboration with Firstsite, Colchester.

Symposium: Legacies of Malevich; abstraction then and now, with Briony Fer and Hal Foster, Camberwell College of the Arts, University of the Arts, London.

A Romance in Fourteen Parts, part of "Art, cultural labour and reproduction of capitalism" Historical Materialism Annual Conference, SOAS London.

Publications

Show/Exhibition

About Two Worlds
Mabb, David. 2016. About Two Worlds. In: "About Two Worlds", Handel Street Projects, United Kingdom, 16 January – 20 February 2016.

Announcer
Mabb, David. 2015. Announcer. In: "Announcer", William Morris Gallery, United Kingdom, 27-June - 27 Sept 2015.

Rhythmus
Mabb, David. 2015. Rhythmus. In: "‘Graphics Interchange Format: 25 Years of Focal Point Gallery", FocalPoint Gallery, United Kingdom, 21 July - 19 September 2015.

Who Thinks the Future?
Mabb, David; Bilton , Joshua; Harvey-Regan, Darren; Moore, Jenny; Ounanian, Steven; Pickering, Kate and Warne Thomas, Charlotte. 2014. Who Thinks the Future?. Lewisham Art House, United Kingdom 26th September - 5th October 2014.

Announcer
Mabb, David. 2014. Announcer. Focal Point Gallery, Southend on Sea, United Kingdom 12th April 2014 -12th July 2014.

In England's Green and Pleasant Land
Mabb, David. 2014. In England's Green and Pleasant Land. In: "Mr and Mrs Andrews", Transition Gallery, 29 November - 21 December 2014.

Highlights from The Morris Kitsch Archive
Mabb, David; Syjuco, Stephanie; Slavick, Susanne and Lynn Waddell, Stacy . 2013. Highlights from The Morris Kitsch Archive. In: "Ornament and Crime", Ortega y Gasset Projects , United States, November 2nd – December 15th, 2013.

Regime Change Begins at Home
Mabb, David. 2013. Regime Change Begins at Home. In: "Regime Change Begins at Home", William Morrris Gallery, United Kingdom, 1st May - 28th July 2013.

David Mabb & Henrik Schrat
Mabb, David and Schrat, Henrik. 2013. David Mabb & Henrik Schrat. In: "LoBe", Berlin, Germany.

Bed Peace
Mabb, David. 2012. Bed Peace. In: "Dreamers of Dreams", Tate Britain, United Kingdom.

David Mabb
Mabb, David. 2011. David Mabb. In: "Artist of the Day", Flowers, United Kingdom, 29/6/11.

Utopia Ltd
Mabb, David and Walsh, Mary Ruth. 2011. Utopia Ltd. In: "Utopia Ltd", Highlanes Gallery Drogheda, Ireland, 30/04/2011-03/08/2011.

The Morris Kitsch Archive
Mabb, David. 2010. The Morris Kitsch Archive. In: "The Morris Kitsch Archive", Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, Delaware, United States, 13/08/10 – 05/12/10.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”
Mabb, David. 2009. "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” . In: ""Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"", Leo Kamen Gallery, Toronto, Canada, Feb 21 - Mar 21, 2009.

Dialogues, Biennale of Contemporary Art
Mabb, David and et al., . 2007. Dialogues, Biennale of Contemporary Art. In: "Dialogues, Biennale of Contemporary Art, Menage", St Petersburg, Russian Federation.

Art into Everyday Life
Mabb, David. 2006. Art into Everyday Life. In: "Art into Everyday Life", Contemporary Art Centre, 1/20/2006 - 3/19/2006.

Self-Portrait as Rodchenko (Based on a Photograph by Mikhail Kaufman, David Mabb in William Morris ‘Fruit’ Production Suit, photographed by Robin Forster and copied in paint by Rajendra Sharma)
Mabb, David. 2006. Self-Portrait as Rodchenko (Based on a Photograph by Mikhail Kaufman, David Mabb in William Morris ‘Fruit’ Production Suit, photographed by Robin Forster and copied in paint by Rajendra Sharma). In: " John Moores 24", National Museums Liverpool, United Kingdom, 16 September - 26 November 2006.

Morris in Jaipur: The Work of Art in the Context of Hand-made Reproduction
Mabb, David. 2005. Morris in Jaipur: The Work of Art in the Context of Hand-made Reproduction. In: "Morris in Jaipur: The Work of Art in the Context of Hand-made Reproduction", Queens Galley, British Council, 3/18/2005 - 4/9/2005.

William Morris, "Ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich"
Mabb, David. 2004. William Morris, "Ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich". In: "William Morris, "Ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich"", Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, United Kingdom, 4/10/2004 - 12/23/2004.

Arttextiles 3
Mabb, David. 2004. Arttextiles 3. In: "Arttextiles 3", Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery.

Inter
Mabb, David. 2004. Inter. In: "Inter", Harris Museum and Art Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

Wish You Were Here
Mabb, David. 2004. Wish You Were Here. In: "Wish You Were Here", Waygood Gallery, Newcastle, United Kingdom.

A Factory As It Might Be or The Hall Of Flowers
Mabb, David. 2003. A Factory As It Might Be or The Hall Of Flowers. In: "A Factory As It Might Be or The Hall Of Flowers", Art Gallery of Windsor, Canada, 8/9/2003 - 10/5/2003.

Further Up In The Air
Mabb, David. 2003. Further Up In The Air. In: "Further A Field", Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Science Fiction Double Feature
Mabb, David. 2003. Science Fiction Double Feature. In: "Science Fiction Double Feature", Aas, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Pattern Crazy
Mabb, David. 2002. Pattern Crazy. In: "Pattern Crazy", Crafts Council Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

Exhibition Catalogue

Announcer (broadsheet)
Mabb, David. 2014. Announcer (broadsheet).

Commodity Form
Drake, Colin and Mabb, David. 2008. Commodity Form.

Mabb: Art into Everday Life
Mabb, David; Jablonskiene, Lolita and Rees, Simon. 2006. Mabb: Art into Everday Life.

The Sneeze
Mabb, David. 2006. The Sneeze.

David Mabb, William Morris. Ministering to the Swinish Luxuary of the Rich
Mabb, David; Edwards, Steve and Arscott, Caroline. 2004. David Mabb, William Morris. Ministering to the Swinish Luxuary of the Rich.

Critical Home Video
Mabb, David. 2002. Critical Home Video.

Critical Home Video (Peterborough)
Mabb, David; Buxey, K.R.; Harris, Mark; Ishige, Yasu; Lai, Adrienne; Lewis, Peter Lloyd; Macrae, Sheena; Maier, Johannes; Wyatt, Angus and Kollectiv, Pil and Galia. 2002. Critical Home Video (Peterborough).

David Mabb: The Decorating Business
Mabb, David; Edwards, Steve; Higgs, Matthew; Périnet, Francine and Fleming, Marnie. 2001. David Mabb: The Decorating Business.

Artist's Book

Furthermore … ‘a book of proposals’: Proposal for The Linosa Close Transitional Monument
Mabb, David. 2004. Furthermore … ‘a book of proposals’: Proposal for The Linosa Close Transitional Monument.

Conference or Workshop Item

Legacies of Malevich Symposium: Abstraction then and Now
Mabb, David. 2014. 'Legacies of Malevich Symposium: Abstraction then and Now'. In: Legacies of Malevich Abstraction then and Now. Camberwell College of Art, London, United Kingdom 23rd October 2014.

Art Object

Maid with Two Squares
Mabb, David. 2016. Maid with Two Squares.

beaT bouT
Mabb, David. 2014. beaT bouT.

Transitional Monument
Mabb, David. 2014. Transitional Monument.

Luibov Popova Untitled Textile Design on William Morris Wallpaper for Historical Materialism
Mabb, David. 2010. Luibov Popova Untitled Textile Design on William Morris Wallpaper for Historical Materialism.

Rhythm 69
Mabb, David. 2008. Rhythm 69 .

Article

Commodity as comrade
Mabb, David. 2013. Commodity as comrade. Ephemera Journal, 13(2), pp. 445-448. ISSN 2052-1499

‘What Keeps Mankind Alive?’: the Eleventh International Istanbul Biennial. Once More on Aesthetics and Politics
Mabb, David; Edwards, Steve and Day, Gail. 2010. ‘What Keeps Mankind Alive?’: the Eleventh International Istanbul Biennial. Once More on Aesthetics and Politics. Historical Materialism, 18(4), pp. 135-171.

Notes on the Morris Kitsch Archive
Mabb, David. 2009. Notes on the Morris Kitsch Archive. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 7(3),

Spring, Fine Arts
Mabb, David. 2003. Spring, Fine Arts. Spring, Fine Arts, The British School at Rome,

Some Introductory Notes On My Morris Works
Mabb, David. 2002. Some Introductory Notes On My Morris Works. The Journal of William Morris Studies, 15(1),

Audio

Interview with David Mabb at Focal Point Gallery
Mabb, David. 2014. Interview with David Mabb at Focal Point Gallery.

Book Section

Art into Everday Life
Mabb, David. 2013. Art into Everday Life. In: Marta Rabikowska, ed. The Everyday of Memory; Between Communism and Post-Communism. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien.: Peter Lang, pp. 137-146. ISBN ISBN 978-3-0343-0847-2

Hijack: Morris Dialectically in William Morris in the Twenty-First Century
Mabb, David. 2010. Hijack: Morris Dialectically in William Morris in the Twenty-First Century. In: Phillipa Bennett and Rosie Miles, eds. William Morris in the Twenty-First Century. (20) Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien: Peter Lang, pp. 153-166. ISBN 978-3-0343-0106-0

Morris/Fruit, Rodchenko/Triple Peaks
Mabb, David. 2010. Morris/Fruit, Rodchenko/Triple Peaks. In: Gill Saunders, ed. Walls Are Talking: Wallpaper, Art and Culture. Chicago and London: The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and KWS Publishers.

Two series of paintings: Elegies to the Third International and Unrealised Projects Series
Mabb, David. 2005. Two series of paintings: Elegies to the Third International and Unrealised Projects Series. In: Dave Beech and Mark Hutchinson, eds. There is Always an Alternative. London: Arts Council.

Interview
Mabb, David. 2005. Interview. In: , ed. Pilot: 2. London: Pilot.

Interview
Mabb, David and et al., . 2004. Interview. In: , ed. Pilot:1 Q&A by Doriane Laithier. London: Pilot.

Art of the Stitch and Sample
Mabb, David. 2003. Art of the Stitch and Sample. In: Polly Leonard, ed. Art of the Stitch and Sample. London: Embroiderers Guild.

David Mabb
Mabb, David. 2002. David Mabb. In: , ed. Sidewinder. Calcutta: CIMA Gallery. ISBN 8187977019

Problems of Everyday Life
Mabb, David and Gibson, Catherine. 2000. Problems of Everyday Life. In: , ed. Problems of Everyday Life. Liverpool: Bluecoat Gallery.

Digital

Elegies to the Third International
Mabb, David. 2011. Elegies to the Third International.

A Miniature Retrospective
Mabb, David. 2007. A Miniature Retrospective.

Film/Video

IDEA13 TV: Interview with artist DAVID MABB Focal Point Gallery 11 April 2014
Mabb, David. 2014. IDEA13 TV: Interview with artist DAVID MABB Focal Point Gallery 11 April 2014 .

Art and Appropriation – when does artistic freedom become copyright infringement?
Lubna , Arielle Gem and Mabb, David. 2011. Art and Appropriation – when does artistic freedom become copyright infringement?.

Printed Ephemera

Historical Materialism Poster 2015
Mabb, David. 2015. Historical Materialism Poster 2015.

Historical Materialism Poster 2014
Mabb, David. 2014. Historical Materialism Poster 2014.

Left Helicon Cover
Mabb, David. 2014. Left Helicon Cover .

Historical Materialism Poster 2013
Mabb, David. 2013. Historical Materialism Poster 2013.

Historical Materialism Poster 2012. Weighs Like a Nightmare
Mabb, David. 2012. Historical Materialism Poster 2012. Weighs Like a Nightmare.

Fruit Twigs Card
Mabb, David. 2012. Fruit Twigs Card.

Current (Green Engineering Object)
Mabb, David. 2011. Current (Green Engineering Object).