David Mabb is an artist who works with appropriated imagery to rethink the political implications of different aesthetic forms in modern art and design history. Recent work has focussed on the designs of 19th Century English interior designer, writer and socialist William Morris. Mabb’s interest in Morris stems from the social and political connotations of Morris’ work, the continued relevancy of Morris’ politics and the continuing market for Morris’ designs. Mabb’s interpretations or reconfigurations of Morris’ designs consider the relationship between Morris’ own thinking and other forms of cultural production.
- BA Fine Art Goldsmiths College 1980
- MA Fine Art Chelsea School of Art 1981
Teaching and Supervision
Publications and research outputs
Mabb, David. 2023. 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'. In: "Sieh einmal die schönen Blumen", Jägerschere gallery for contemporary art, Niederer-Fläming Germany, Germany, 7 May - 11 June 2023.
Mabb, David. 2023. ‘Lietuva’ and ‘The Benetton Shop' from 'Art into Everyday Life’. In: "Outsiders Look at Vilnius", National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, Lithuania, 7 April - 11 June 2023.
Mabb, David. 2022. Variant 7, William Morris Colouring Book with Untitled Textile Design by Varvara Stepanova.. In: "Patternicity", ASC Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2022.
Mabb, David. 2020. Three placards: Chernobyl, Ukraine; Ignalina, Lithuania; Astravets, Belarus.. In: "Splitting the Atom", CAC/SMK Centre for Contemporary Art and The Energy & Technology Museum, Lithuania, 18 September – 25 October 2020.
Mabb, David. 2020. Construct 69, Morris, Daisy / Stepanova, Optical and Construct 70, Morris & Co. (Dearle) Iris / Stepanova, Optical. In: "Beyond Other Horizons", Iași Palace of Culture, Romania, 1st - 31st March 2020.
Mabb, David. 2020. In Search of Chairman Mao: 12 Days in Beijing. In: "The Red Mansion Anniversary Art Prize Exhibition.", Royal Academy of Art, United Kingdom, 18—25 Mar 2020 (Canceled the day it opened due to pandemic)..
Mabb, David. 2019. Provisional Memorial to Nuclear Disarmament and Placards for Mutinous Submariners. In: "Parade", Former Tourist Information Centre/Broadway Gallery, Letchworth Garden City, United Kingdom, 13 December 2019 - 16 February 2020.
Carpenter, Ele; Mabb, David; Crowe, Nick; Craighead, Alison; Schuppli, Susan and Weir, Andy. 2016. Perpetual Uncertainty, exhibition. In: "Perpetual Uncertainty", Bildmuseet, Sweden, 2 October 2016 - 16 April 2017.
Carpenter, Ele; Mabb, David; Craighead, Alison; Crowe, Nick; Schuppli, Susan; Takeuchi, Kota and Kobayashi, Erika. 2016. Material Nuclear Culture, Exhibition. In: "Material Nuclear Culture", KARST Gallery, United Kingdom, 17 June - 13 August 2016.
Mabb, David. 2016. Construct 1, Morris, Trellis / Stepanova, Optical. 2003. In: "The Gardener Digs in Another Time", Whitworth Art Gallery, United Kingdom, 23 June - 9 October 2016.
Mabb, David. 2015. 'When class-robbery is abolished every man will reap the fruits of his labour'. In: "2nd International Bodrum Biennial “Tolerance - Forbearance”", Bodrum, Turkey, 12 September - 12 November 2015.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mabb, David; Edwards, Steve and Arscott, Caroline. 2004. David Mabb, William Morris. Ministering to the Swinish Luxuary of the Rich.
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).
Conference or Workshop Item
Mabb, David. 2016. 'William Morris Goes Atomic: A Provisional Memorial to Nuclear Disarmament'. In: William Morris Goes Atomic: A Provisional Memorial to Nuclear Disarmament. William Morris Society, United Kingdom 3 December 2016.
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.
Mabb, David. 2014. 'David Mabb’s on his 'co-creation' with William Morris'. In: Art Talk 2014. University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom 2014.
Mabb, David. 2009. 'David Mabb discussing William Morris and the Constructivists. What went wrong?'. In: Constructivism and the Art of Everyday Life. Tate Modern, United Kingdom 28 March 2009.
Mabb, David. 2021. Annotations on Historical Materialism Conference Posters. Folded Life, Talking Textile 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.
Mabb, David. 2020. William Morris and the Culture Industry: Appropriation, Art, Critique. In: Florence S. Boos, ed. The Routledge Companion to William Morris. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 227-258. ISBN 9780415347433
Mabb, David and Malik, Suhail. 2017. Art Teaching: Dialectics of Practice and Theory. In: Peter Sonderen and Marijn de Langen, eds. Theory - Arts - Practices. Arnhem: ArtEZ Press, pp. 69-81. ISBN 978-94-91444-39-5
Mabb, David. 2013. Art into Everyday 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
Mabb, David. 2010. Hijack: Morris Dialectically. 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
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.
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.
Mabb, David. 2004. Artist Contribution in Transmission: Speaking and Listening Volume 3 Ornament and Utility. In: Emma Cocker; Lesley Sanderson and Sharon Kivlan, eds. Transmission: Speaking and Listening Volume 3 Ornament and Utility. Site Gallery. ISBN 9781899926510
Mabb, David and Kreivytė, Laima. 2006. Menas kasdienybei: dizaino politika Pokalbis su britų menininku Davidu Mabbu.
Lubna, Arielle Gem and Mabb, David. 2011. Art and Appropriation – when does artistic freedom become copyright infringement?.
Further profile content
'David Mabb, Announcer’
Printed newspaper, produced in an edition 2000. Catalogue to accompany 'Announcer', Focal Point Gallery, Southend.
‘Commodity Form: Colin Darke, The Capital Paintings; David Mabb, Rhythm 69’.
Catalogue produced to accompany ‘Commodity Form’ at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast
‘Mabb: Art into Everday Life’
Catalogue produced for solo exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Vilnius, Lithuania
‘David Mabb: William Morris in Jaipur. The Work of Art in the Context of Hand-made Reproduction’
Catalogue for ‘William Morris in Jaipur, published by Nature Morte, New Delhi, India
‘David Mabb: A Factory as it Might be or The Hall of Flowers’
Catalogue published by Windsor Art Gallery, Ontario, Canada
David Mabb’s work has been exhibited in solo shows at Handel Street Projects, London (2016); William Morris Gallery, London (2015); Focal Point Gallery, Southend on Sea (2014); Delaware Centre for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington (2010); The Bluecoat, Liverpool (with Colin Darke (2009); Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2006); Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario (2003) and Oakville Galleries, Ontario (2000). He curated Utopia Ltd. (with Mary-Ruth Walsh) at Wexford Art Centre and the Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Ireland (2011) and William Morris “Ministering to the Swinish Luxury of the Rich” at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (2004)