Doubletake: Collective Memory and Current Art

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 20 February – 20 April 1992

Doubletake: Collective Memory and Current Art was a major international exhibition of contemporary art that brought together 23 artists from around the world to explore the idea of ‘collective memory’, as well as ‘private and public lives’, ‘tradition and innovation’, and ‘the body and technology’.

The exhibition was selected by a committee consisting of Lynne Cooke, Curator at the DIA Center for the Arts, New York; Bice Curiger, Editor of the Swiss-based art quarterly Parkett; and Greg Hilty, then an Exhibition Organiser at Southbank Centre.

A large-scale international exhibition of contemporary art at the Hayward Gallery was first proposed in 1990. In one of these early proposal, the selectors stated that ‘the artists on whom we want to focus do not represent a movement or a style, but rather a sensibility and a depth of engagement with the vernacular’, and drew attention to the way that the artists they wished to exhibit ‘remained on the cutting edge of contemporary art practice’, while making work that ‘had popular appeal’, could be ‘humorous’ and was often ‘spectacular’.

The exhibition – which took place across the entire Hayward Gallery – was designed by Italian architect Aldo Rossi, who had written on the subject of collective memory in his 1966 publication The Architecture of the City.

The 23 artists in Doubletake were: Stephan Balkenhol, Sophie Calle, Saint Claire Cemin, Peter Fischli/David Weiss, Katharina Fritsch, Jeff Koons, Glenn Ligon, Christian Marclay, Julio Galán, Robert Gober, Andreas Gursky, Ann Hamilton, Gary Hill, Jenny Holzer, Narelle Jubelin, Mike Kelley, Jon Kessler, Juan Muñoz, Simon Patterson, Philip Taaffe, Boyd Webb, Tim Rollins + K.O.S. and Rachel Whiteread.

Jon Kessler's The Millennium Machine (1992) on one of Hayward Gallery's sculpture terraces.

Doubletake spilled out beyond the walls of the Hayward Gallery thanks to a collaboration with the commissioning body Artangel. A number of works were placed along the River Thames between Westminster Bridge and Blackfriars, while others took place on the radio, or in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.

Juan Muñoz's Monument (1992) on the South Bank of the Thames.

Stephan Balkenhol’s larger than life-sized wooden figure of a man was placed on a buoy the middle of the River Thames.

Sketches for Stephan Balkenhol's Head of a Man (1992), Figure on a Buoy (1992).

The figure was later placed on a large pontoon, after the Port of London Authority was inundated with calls from concerned members of the public who believed the figure to be in mortal danger.

Doubletake private view card.

Doubletake exhibition guide.

Doubletake installation plans.

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