msdm a nomadic house-studio-gallery for photographic art and curatorial research, an expanded practice of the artist's book, photobook publishing and peer-to-peer collaboration created by contemporary artist paula roush

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Russian Ballet Riot, 2012
newspaperwork, 64 pages, colour, digital offset on newsprint paper, 29 ×38 cm
and 20 pages booklet A5 size facsimile edition of Russian Ballet an artist’s book by David Bomberg published in London in 1919
Photography and design: paula roush
edition of 100
msdm publications
Commissioned by the Borough Road Gallery, London
Published as part of the exhibition David Bomberg: Objects of Collection, presented in the Digital Gallery, London South Bank University, 10-12 December 2013


Newspaperwork developed in response to David Bomberg's collected works in the Borough Road Gallery exhibition London’s Post War Art Scene: David Bomberg & The Borough Group  ( Nov 30 2012-March 23 2013) and shown in parallel to  David Bomberg: Objects of Collection  (Sep13 2013-March 29 2014) in the exhibition Photobooks: Objects of collection (photobooks commissioned by the Borough Road Gallery in response to the exhibition David Bomberg: Objects of Collection), Digital Gallery, London South Bank University, London UK
Collage brings together the world of the Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (the historical context for Russian Ballet) and the protests in support of Pussy Riot following their 2012 arrest.
The work is inspired by traces of David Bomberg art studio in Borough road, now converted into the London South Bank University’s School of Arts and Creative Industries lecturer’s offices where paula meets her photobook publishing students for tutorials.

Researching the teaching and learning environment in the Borough Polytechnic “which was to become the centre of the most vanguard and adventurous art education in post-war Britain,” [1] the work is inspired by the traces of the former art studios in Borough road and the University archives.
Bomberg’s revolutionary teaching methods, informed by a search for the “spirit in the mass,” [2] that was keenly adapted by the Borough Group (1946-1951) as their modus operandis, precedes current practice-based approaches to art as research and comes alive in the new self-published work.
Bomberg’s early enthusiasm for self-publishing and his involvement with the performative aspects of modern culture was evident in his pamphlet-book Russian Ballet (1919) whose reinterpretation is part of the work.

Bringing side by side the Borough group’s artwork and the newly commissioned publication completes the circle that started with the radical educational approaches to modern art in post-war Borough Polytechnic and continue with contemporary discursive approaches to art in the University’s photographic arts teaching.

[1] Dominika Buchowska, 2011, Teaching Art In Post-War Britain: The Case Of The Borough Group 1945-1953, Polish-AngloSaxon Studies volume 14-15, pp. 107-129; [2] C. Holden, History of the Borough Group, date of access: 6 Nov 2012

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Queer Paper Gardens
curated by Joao Pinharanda
Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon
[Curator's text: João Pinharanda Undermining the Surrounding World]
[ Exhibition review: Luisa Soares de Oliveira Mulheres fatais e outras que tais/ Fatal women and others as such: A visit to the surrealist museum through collage Ipsilon Publico Magazine portuguese  /  english]
[ Exhibition review: Celso Martins Colagem e Colisao / Collage and collision An artistic collaboration around the dances and counterdances of gender, retrieves collage as a mode of associating images Expresso Atual Magazine,  portuguese  /   english ]

The exhibition-making strategy adopted the project is a mixed media collage salon, which explores travel and collage as interlinked cultural queer and feminist practices in its relationship to contemporary art. Multilayered visual essays and publications revisit narratives, which combine historical archive and speculative fiction into the study of the modernist collage- novel. The main subjects of these works range from Mary Delany’s invention of botanical collage (Flora Delanica, 1772-1782), to Max Ernst’s collage novel Une Semaine de Bonté (A Week of Goodness, 1934) and Valentine Penrose’ poem-collage Dons des Feminines (Gifts of the Feminine, 1951).
This journey makes visible ways in which collage creates spaces that facilitate experiments with botanical taxonomies as metaphors for gender and sexuality and also a critique of the domestic setting conveyed through escapist dreams and travel to exotic locations.

The relation between collage and art publishing is part of  the artists’ books history. Two relevant examples of small editions books are part of the exhibition’s material sources: Max Ernst’s A Week of Goodness (1934) and Valentine Penrose’s Dons des Feminines (1951). Both propose new perspectives on the relationship between found material and personal biography, collage and narrative, image and text. Departing from these and looking at early predecessors of the visual book- encountered in the Georgian hortus siccus (herbarium) and the Victorian photo album- the project explores:
- Working with found material: the author as editor with a subjective vision of an archive or collection
- A queer and feminist history of collage that looks at early precursors of collage amongst 18th century landscape female artists, female victorian photo-collage, the surrealist collage novel and contemporary collage approaches
- Visual storytelling when sequencing books: strategies that range from cinematic structure to the travel book.

Related publication: 
Queer paper gardens or the Wildlife of symbols
Published on the occasion of Queer paper gardens/ Estranhos Jardins de Papel
at Museu da Eletricidade

Artistic research:
paula roush & maria lusitano Queer paper gardens or the Wildlife of symbols:Les deux amies / The two girlfriends (Gifts of the Feminine); II. The mise-en-scéne of the unconscious (A Week of Goodness); III. The photoalbum in the drawing room (cardomania), the album of Madame B.; IV.  The paper mosaick (Female cruising in the garden)

Guest writer
Cristina Duarte a journal of one’s own, a text dedicated to mary, margaret, valentine, alice, paula, maria and all the other women 

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UNBOUND exhibition

The exhibition comprises works of four artists who work within the boundaries of the Artist Book, outlining the diverse nature of the book format, from sequential narrative to mapping and code to installation and interactive pieces. The common thread of the book is also expressed in the artist’s production methods through various print methods and sequencing within their work.

Vitrine installation
Unbound exhibition views, Herbert Read Gallery, Canterbury

By the gallery entrance, a museological display case contains The Beauties of Decomposition, collaboration with Michael Hampton. Concept-specific paper is a refined substrate in the world of the artists’ book. The logic of the work is materially inscribed in the fibres of handmade paper. In the case of The Beauties of Decomposition, the paper’s meaning is derived from ‘The Book Dispersed’ project. This special edition contains a paper specimen composed of pulp from the abortive funding application for ‘The Book Dispersed’ an exhibition devised by the collective Media Instaveis/Unstable Media I am part of, blended with pulp from Michael Hampton’s magnum opus Unshelfmarked: Reconceiving the artist’s book (author’s copy), together with extra pulp from Samuel Smiles’s Self-Help (a print on demand copy purchased on eBay). The book, dedicated to the late Auto-Destructive artist and activist Gustav Metzger, is a work about dispersion in the form of a conversation between scattering and collecting/organising.

At the centre of the exhibition are four new editions of Flora McCallica. These works- two hanging installations and two books on display tables- have historical and biographical references, mixing orphan photographs dated 1958 found in the Lisbon flea market, and botanical specimens from an herbarium dated 1920s discarded by London Kew Gardens. Like pieces of evidence altered by the passage of time, the silkscreen and stone lithography prints have stains and patterns that are unique to each print.

Another work recreated for this exhibition is Participatory architectures (how to build your own living structures), a work inspired by the outdated remains of a 20th century architectural utopia, a village developed as part of national housing project code-named SAAL, the experimental programme of peoples’ right to place emerged in the short experience of participatory democracy during the Portuguese revolution. The sculpture includes two oversize book covers referring to the Self-build movement in Portugal and the USA, and the newspaper The past persists in the present in the form of a dream (participatory architectures, archive and revolution) documenting a SAAL village facing extinction.

Areopagitica (Milton’s Nose) is a table assemblage with self-published newspaper and clay noses created by students at St. Paul’s School ceramic studios. Through collage, studio portraiture and found material, the work references two earlier self-published pamphlets: John Milton’s 1644 Areopagitica and David Bomberg’s 1919 Russian Ballet.

Unbound: David Faithful,  Jo Milne, paula roush & Print City
October 20 – November 9, 2017
curated by Rob McDonald
Herbert Read Gallery, University for the Creative Arts Canterbury
[artists' statements]  [ All Inked Up programme newspaper]  [gallery website]

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Paradigm Store

New installation of Participatory Architectures included in Paradigm Store exhibition: the decorative and the functional explored through a mixed range of media, proposing ways of re-considering the environment and social structure.

Paradigm Store
Curated by HS Projects
With: paula roush,
Ulla von Brandenburg, Cullinan & Richards, Kendell Geers, David Shrigley, Yutaka Sone, Maria Nepomuceno, Tobias Rehberger, Claire Barclay, Elizabeth Neel, Simon Bedwell,  Nike Savvas,  Theo Stamatoyiannis,  Anne Harild,  Beatriz Milhazes
5 Howick Place, London
September 25 – November 5, 2014
[press release] [artist's statement]  [review: 3rd Dimension Magazine]



The film about  Paradigm Store curated by HS Projects at 5 Howick Place is also online.  click the image to access the vimeo file>

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found photo foundation: installation detail, photozines produced in the publishing workshop with Siegen-based artists-educators, Dear Aby Warburg: What can be done with images? Dealing with Photographic Material, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen

Dear Aby Warburg: What can be done with images? Dealing with Photographic Material

Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen
Curated by Eva Schmidt
With: Özlem Altin, Tobias Buche, Mariana Castillo Deball, Marianna Christofides, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Katalin Deér, Thea Djordjadze, Hervé Garcia, Cécile Hummel, Franziska Kabisch, Ulrike Kuschel, Alexandra Leykauf, Elke Marhöfer, Katrin Mayer, Lia Perjovschi, Manfred Pernice, Abigail Reynolds, paula roush, Ines Schaber & Stefan Pente, Eske Schlüters, Batia Suter, Simon Wachsmuth and Haegue Yang

[paula roush, Chaos of memories- Surviving archives and the ruins of history according to the found photo foundation. Order and Collapse: The Lives of Archives]
[Tanja Verlak, An attempt at exhausting an archive /Found Photo Foundation Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images? Dealing with Photographic Material Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen]
Ludwig Seyfarth, Space for thinking between the images: on the genesis of the ‘photographic collection’ as an artistic genre. Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images? Dealing with Photographic Material Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen]
Eva Schmidt, Foreword & Acknowledgements Dear Aby Warburg, what can be done with images? Dealing with Photographic Material. Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen]
[Christina Natlacen Lieber Aby Warburg, was tun mit Bildern? Vom Umgang mit fotografischem Material, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen Camera Austria 121]
[Noemi Smolik Album Art Aperture reviews]
[Tanja Verlak Excavation Thrill. In conversation paula roush and Tanja Verlak Nowiswere Contemporary Art Magazine issue 12.]
[catalogue] [ museum website] [press release: e-flux]

The exhibition Dear Aby Warburg, What Can Be Done with Images? shows 22 younger positions of contemporary art that handle photographs—usually photographic reproductions or found photos—in a specific fashion. Starting out from an enduring fascination with the Mnemosyne Atlas by Aby Warburg, this reference in the title also pays homage to the ‘artistic’ art historian. While two projects refer in a concrete way to the work of Aby Warburg, the references of the other works are more associative in character. Today—from the viewpoint of contemporary art—we value Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas because it displays variable, non-systematic ordering parameters, but also because the combination of divergent picture sources and their carrying materials and fixtures—as an aesthetic unity—appears extremely provisional and haptic. The new availability of reproductions in Warburg’s time suggested the examination of images and their potential for making a statement in conjunction with other images, and the proposal and testing of hypotheses with the aid of such ensembles. Today, the availability of reproduced images is taken for granted more than ever.
An interest in photographic material, in the carriers of this material, or in the spatial staging of such material—temporal sequences in slide projections and film as well—cannot be overlooked in current art practice. Besides collection, accumulation, archiving and ordering processes, the exhibition also shows hybrid combinations of photographic material with painting and sculpture.
Photographic material in combination with other artistic media makes clear how we can conceive the discursive potentials of photography beyond the constellation of the individual image or the series. Expressive arrangements, interweaving, montages and formations reveal the ways in which photographic images can be made to speak. The meaning of a photographic image does not lie in the image itself; its context and actualization are decisive. The way artists deal with images, as the exhibition will show, is a practice that is both aesthetic and ethical.


msdm   is  Mobile  Strategies  of  Display  &   Mediation
 a nomadic House — Studio — Gallery for photographic art
curatorial research, expanded practice of the artist's book
photobook publishing  and peer - to - peer collaborations 


by appointment only
please e-mail to schedule a visit

paula roush 

London SE

school of arts  & creative industries  
london south bank university