The Dan Cox Library for the Unfinished Concept of Thingly Time

(from press release)

The Dan Cox Library for the Unfinished Cconcept of Thingly Time first appeared as a consequence of the tragic death of Dan Cox in February 2011, whilst he was curating Andy Holden’s exhibition at Kettle’s Yard.  Each week Dan, in his duel role of old friend and Theoretical Advisor, would visit Andy’s studio and the pair would record their conversations, taking Flaubert’s Bouvard et Pecuchet as a starting point.  The day before Dan’s death on his bike at Dalston Junction he had proposed a title for the exhibition: Chewy Cosmos, Thingly Time.  Chewy Cosmos is a slogan Dan found on the underside of a Cadbury’s Starbar, conjuring up images of ponderous masticatory dialogue, the solid-like nature of words.  Thingly Time was to be Dan’s theory, based on observations from Andy’s sculptures and drawing on his readings of Marx and Heidegger.  On the morning of the day of his death Dan sketched notes on his idea of Thingly Time, then set out on his bike, colliding with a lorry at Dalston Junction, and leaving the theory of Thingly Time in it’s embryonic, unfinished form.

The Dan Cox Library for the Unfinished Concept of Thingly Time, subsequently appeared as the first room of Holden’s exhibition at Kettle’s Yard.  It is a space containing all ofDan’s books, placed in relation with a variety of fragments from Holden’s previous sculptural projects. In the spirit of the pair’s collaboration, it is a space for dialogue, between ideas and words, things and art-objects.  Specially designed book cases stand on carpets, like small islands, with screen-printed with text containing extracts copied from Flaubert’s Bouvard et Pecuchet; behind these bookcases are images of starry night skies full of wobbly-eyes looking down.  For Dan the material of the books themselves though were of only a secondary: the words and ideas themselves were tangible objects, with real affect.  The books themselves were vehicles, to lend, to exchange; an idea was nothing until it was devoured, regurgitated, and delivered to a willing recipient.  At Cubitt the Library continues, both as a memorial to Dan but also now as a real, active research Library: a space to attempt to attempt to understand, and elaborate upon, the nature of Thingly Time. 

The Library at Cubitt also houses a series of performances and readings; artists and writers are invited into the space to investigate and offer their interpretations of what ‘Thingly Time’ might be. They are invited to use the books to construct new contributions to this unfinished theory. 

Performances in the Library:

Andy Holden and Ed Atkins

Heather Phillipson

Francesco Pedraglio

Katrina Palmer

Steve Roggenbuck

Erica Scourte

David Conroy and Gil Leung

The Grubby Mitts

Paul Becker

Many of the performances are housed as audio and available in the Library.

At Cubbit the Library also contained a curated exhibition, The Language of the Flowers and the Stars, including works by Mark Leckey, Michael Dean, Claes Oldenburg, Kurt Vonnegut, Ruth Beale, Heather Phillipson, Ed Atkins, Steve Claydon, Philip Jeck and Jason Rhoades.

It also includes the artist book: The Impossiblility of Crows, with contributions by various authors and containing a full catalogue of all the books in the Library.  The book remains available in the Library.

Works in the Library by Holden include (note: this is now all considered one work):

Stalagmite (Missed Opportunities), 2007

Pessimism of the Intellect Optimism of the Will, (painted melted records), 2008

You Go on without Me, (Bronze hand with thumb), 2007

Last Stop for the Good Old Times, (hand carved marble game), 2011

Ornamites (plaster on ceramic vases, various sizes) 2011

Slices (plaster and emulsion paint), 2009-11

Christmas with the Holden’s (bronze party poppers), 2011

Boulder in Landscape (paint on found painting), 2008

Eyes in Space, (Googly eyes on found astronomy book), 2011

Unanswered question (watercolour) 2006

Dodo for a Double Desk (bronze dodo, green, edition of 3) 2011

Wasps Nest (found object)

Birds Nests (found)

Untitled (Flaubert Carpets) (screen printed carpet), 2011

Library Furniture (designed and built by holden studio)

Time is what stops everything happening all at once (plaster slab), 2011


Frieze, Interview 2012

Time Out London, 4*

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