In 2009, John Berger donated sixty years’ worth of his papers, accumulated in his stables in the French Alps, to the British Library. Art and Property Now brings together unseen highlights from that archive with artworks connected to his life as a storyteller, artist and critic, from his 1940s drawings to the 2009 collaboration with Artangel and Alan Kane, Life Class: Today’s Nude.
Presented by King’s Cultural Institute and the British Library, and in close communication with many of Berger’s key collaborators, the exhibition borrows its title from one of the essays that fed into Ways of Seeing (1972), the collaborative series of films and later book which changed the way we understand art and its private and public ownership. Theseries also drew on G.,the novel for which Berger won the Booker Prize and shared half of the proceeds with the Black Panthers. This year is the 40th anniversary of both works.
In an interview about the donation, Berger explained:
“I somewhere am perhaps deeply unmercantile, and it is market forces as they are now called who at the moment are ruling - both materially and socially, and politically - the planet. Therefore if one can take decisions and do things which have nothing to do with the values behind those market forces, then so much the better.”
Curated by Tom Overton, Cataloguer of the John Berger archive at the British Library
There will be a series of events around the exhibition, including:
The premiere of Ways of Listening, a new film with John Berger and Tilda Swinton, made by London Consortium Television and held at the British Library.
A conference – Ways of Seeing John Berger – on 6-8 September at King’s College.
A rare screening of John Berger and Timothy Neat's 1989 Play Me Something at the Whitechapel Gallery.
And a series of events at the Inigo Rooms.
For further information on the exhibition, please click here.