"Never To Look Forward": 2015 at the ICA

ICA News

16 Dec 2015
We look back at 2015 - an exciting year at the ICA.

From Viviane Sassen’s stunning photographs in Pikin Slee, Ydessa Hendeles’s evocative tableau From her wooden sleep…, Dor Guez's The Sick Man of Europe and Isa Genzken’s Basic Research Paintings to the return of this year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries, we’ve enjoyed some fantastic exhibitions. In the ICA Studio, we even saw a new exhibition every week, presented by fig-2. Our support of British artists is ongoing and ever important, not least through artists such as Eloise Hawser and Prem Sahib who took London by storm. This autumn, we also enjoyed a mesmerising durational performance by Adam Linder.

Off-Site, we celebrated creativity in Birmingham with Selfridges for the launch of their Live + Loud festival, collaborated with Diesel Black Gold to exhibit video work by Hannah Perry in their London flagship store and, for our first Off-Site overseas, showcased international contemporary artists at Hong Kong's vibrant cultural destination Duddell's.  

Meanwhile, in the ICA Fox Reading Room shows such as First Happenings: Adrian Henri in the ‘60s and '70s and FB55 looked back at some of the most exciting moments in the ICA’s radical history, with Adrian Henri evoking the ICA’s long tradition of interdisciplinary arts and FB55 exploring Francis Bacon’s first institutional solo show. The Financial Times reminded us size doesn’t always matter in relation to our recent exhibition Everything is Architecture: Bau Magazine from the 60s and 70s saying its size belies the influence of its subject, while Radical Disco: Architecture and Nightlife in Italy, 1965-1975 and our touring exhibition Shout Out! UK Pirate Radio in the 1980s recalled key musical and architectural movements, highlighting the ways in which they still resonate today.

During Frieze Week in October the ICA was buzzing with the first ever Frieze ICA Bar in association with K11 Art Foundation, featuring new performers every night brought in by our close associates NTS Radio. Zhang Ding’s exhibition Enter The Dragon further synthesised the relationship between music and the art world through a series of exciting collaborations with bands such as Bo Ningen, Wild Daughter and Throwing Shade. Meanwhile, Time listed Juergen Teller’s Wildschweinmutter, Kolkata, Indien in their roundup of 10 Things to See at Frieze London Art Fair, with Zhang Ding also producing a special edition to accompany his show.

In the press, we were billed as London’s go-to gallery for an instant response to emerging trends by the Evening Standard and were recognised by The Independent for the topical relevance of our FOMO talks summit in May. As well as a range of fascinating presentations and discussions, the summit saw Irish artist Yuri Pattison launch his digital commission mute conversation. We were also delighted that our membership has been named as one of London’s best.

We highlighted our concerns over the difficulties faced by artists working in London and the legacy of areas such as Soho by joining forces with the Guardian’s art critic Adrian Searle to celebrate Jeffrey Bernard’s enduring influence. Similarly, we tackled the housing crisis with talks looking at squats and counterculture with speakers including Viv Albertine, Peter Doig and Jimmy Cauty, coinciding with our exhibition on London squats in the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s Smiler: Photographs of London by Mark Cawson.  

This year has seen the launch of our Associate Poet residency and the Artist Self-Publishers' fair (ASP), for which we welcomed over 50 independent self-publishers. Our lunchtime talk series Culture Now has given audiences the pleasure to hear from speakers including Hal Foster, Franco ‘Bifo’ Beradi and Juliet Jacques, while we’ve enjoyed contributions from artists including Oliver Laric, Charles Atlas and Beatrice Gibson for our Artists’ Film Club series. We've also been excited to also work with young experimental filmmakers this year as part of our new STOP PLAY RECORD programme, and were pleased to offer students on our MA in the Contemporary a term in Paris for the first time.

In the cinema, we launched our Onwards and Outwards film programme, celebrating 50 years of women directors and again highlighting issues of gender identity and representation raised by recent talk series Now You Can Go and shows such as Looks, which featured artists including Wu Tsang, Andrea Crespo and Stewart Uoo.

We welcomed Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev for his first visit to the UK, enjoyed a fascinating discussion with Joshua Oppenheimer after a screening of his acclaimed documentary The Look of Silence and celebrated the incredible body of work by the late Chantal Akerman following an unwavering two year retrospective of her films. Continuing our tradition of featuring the best of international cinema, we also enjoyed an exclusive run of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s new film The Dance of Reality, special screenings to mark 40 years since the death of Pier Paolo Pasolini and most recently, an exciting season celebrating iconic director Luis Buñuel, for which we were joined by speakers including screenwriter and collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière.

We're looking forward to an equally exciting and varied calendar in 2016, a year which will mark the ICA’s 70th anniversary. Join us!