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Materiality and Connection

I was delighted to be invited to select from this year’s RCA show. I have found it both interesting and frustrating to be limited by the computer screen, a window by which I am have experienced most of the world in 2020. We are all well versed in endlessly flicking through social media images of exhibitions and artwork to pass judgement on them before even entering the gallery space, but this process has made me ponder again on what it is that makes experiencing an artwork in person so important.

Having said this, it is clear that all the students have demonstrated so brilliantly how you can interpret the complexity of some of the work through a digital platform. This selection covers a lot of different schools and media. All of the artists selected were able to connect me to the particular materiality of their practice, despite not being in the presence of the work. There are great examples of artists that are also beginning to unpack the experiences, mental stresses and longings that we have all have been through on this global shared event.

Joe Hill

Joe Hill

Joe has been Director of Towner Eastbourne since March 2018. Since joining, he has worked with the team to reshape the vision and programme. In 2019, Towner commissioned German artists Lothar Götz to develop an artwork to completely transform the outside façade of building. In the last two years, Joe has presented projects with artists including, David Nash, Anne Hardy, Carey Young, Lawrence Abu Hamden, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Phoebe Unwin, Omer Fast, Hannah Perry, Simon Ling, David Hockney and Alan Davie.

Prior to Towner, Joe was Director of Focal Point Gallery in Southend since 2013. In Southend, he relocated the gallery to a new town centre location, developed a successful programme of offsite commissions and delivered the much-acclaimed Radical ESSEX research project.

Originally having trained at arts school, Joe has extensive experience working as a director, curator and project lead for visual arts organisations, public commissioning and directly with artists. This experience has been cultivated through working with other high-profile arts institutions including Camden Arts Centre and Firstsite and internationally as part of the Venice Biennale.

Joe is Co-Chair of the South East Creative Economy Network and also a Trustee of The Tetley in Leeds.

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