Flesh Arranges Itself Differently

Published: 10 January 2022

Exhibition brings two renowned collections together for the first time, responding to the impacts of technology, spirituality and mortality.

Exhibition brings two renowned collections together for the first time, responding to the impacts of technology, spirituality and mortality.

The Roberts Institute of Art (RIA) and The Hunterian, University of Glasgow are pleased to announce a collaborative exhibition in which works by artists who have evoked bodily experiences - often in response to the impacts of technology, spirituality or mortality - are exhibited together for the first time.

Artists featured in Flesh Arranges Itself Differently from The Hunterian and the David and Indrė Roberts Collection, managed by the Roberts Institute of Art, include Rita Ackermann, Christine Borland, Ilana Halperin, Tamara Henderson, Loie Hollowell, Yayoi Kusama, Liliane Lijn, Eduardo Paolozzi, Robert Rauschenberg, Michael E. Smith and Danh Vō among others. The exhibition will also include remarkable anatomical drawings from The Hunterian collection.

The exhibition is jointly curated by Ned McConnell, Curator, RIA and Dominic Paterson, Curator, The Hunterian, and will take place at the Hunterian Art Gallery from 14 January to 3 April 2022.

The exhibition brings together almost 50 works from both collections for this inaugural collaboration and marks the first time a significant number of works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection have been exhibited to the public in Scotland.

The works in Flesh Arranges Itself Differently range from early anatomical drawings to contemporary works that translate corporeal experiences through sculpture and figurative imagery, and to more abstract pieces that allude to spiritual beliefs in a personal way. Together, the works in the exhibition take the body as a starting point to stretch out into the world. The splicing, stitching and exposure of a variety of bodies, be they bodies of knowledge, physical bodies or bodies of society, is at the centre of the exhibition. By also considering the Enlightenment roots of The Hunterian’s collection in particular, the exhibition thinks through how contemporary bodies continue to be shaped by the world from which The Hunterian was born.

The Hunterian and the David and Indrė Roberts Collection have come together for this exhibition through a process of research and dialogue over the past two years between RIA and The Hunterian. By considering how the central tenets of The Hunterian’s collection connect with works in the David and Indrė Roberts Collection, this presentation offers new ways to see each. Ned McConnell, Curator, RIA, said,“We are excited to be announcing Flesh Arranges Itself Differently in collaboration with The Hunterian. The exhibition explores how both collections can offer perspectives on the ways we have developed an understanding of our bodies. Bodies can be strange things to inhabit and this has been heightened during the current global health crisis. The exhibition thinks through how we connect with our bodies in relation to their materiality through The Hunterian’s works, and how we relate to the outside world with our bodies through works from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection.”

Dominic Paterson, Curator of Contemporary Art, The Hunterian said, “Working with the Roberts Institute of Art has allowed us to bring a range of works by major contemporary artists into the Hunterian Art Gallery and into relation with artworks and other objects from our collection. Through this process of collaboration we have found new ways to interrogate The Hunterian’s history, and new ways to present some key contemporary works of our own.” Kate Davies, Director, RIA said, “We are delighted to be working with The Hunterian to present both collections in a fresh way to audiences in Glasgow and to draw out new synergies between the two collections through this collaboration. Our journey as RIA began in Glasgow with a series of performances in partnership with Glasgow International earlier in the year. To continue to collaborate in the city is very exciting for us as we connect with institutions across the UK to exhibit the David and Indrė Roberts Collection and to commission and programme new projects, residencies and artworks.”


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David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF) embarks on a new journey in 2021 as the Roberts Institute of Art (RIA):
In Spring 2021, David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF) became the Roberts Institute of Art (RIA). Signalling a new direction under the joint patronage of David Roberts and Indrė Šerpytytė-Roberts, RIA will drive a programme of exhibitions, live performances, artist residencies and commissioning opportunities across the UK that will also benefit international artists and global digital audiences. Further programming takes place on 16 December in London with a series of live commissions. A collaboration with the South London Gallery on a performance-based residency takes place in spring 2022 and artist residencies in Scotland will also commence in summer 2022.

The Roberts Institute of Art:
The Roberts Institute of Art is a non-profit contemporary arts organisation. RIA commissions
performance work, collaborates with national partners to create exhibitions, as well as research,
share and display the David and Indrė Roberts Collection. The programme is responsive to
context and seeks to inspire and open up conversations about how we engage with culture.
therobertsinstituteofart.com @therobertsinstituteofart

The Hunterian:
The oldest public museum in Scotland, with collections spanning arts, sciences and humanities, The Hunterian is at the forefront of university museums around the world. Since it opened at the University
of Glasgow in 1807, The Hunterian has been an invaluable academic and community resource and for years to come, The Hunterian is committed to becoming a more meaningful place for more diverse audiences.

As a university gallery and museum The Hunterian creates space for intellectual inquiry and a process of learning and experimentation. The Hunterian collection’s Enlightenment history made a repository of knowledge that materialises the problematic history of Western modernity and its fundamentally colonial and capitalist underpinnings. Taking this as point of departure and critical reflection, The Hunterian’s contemporary art programme seeks to interrogate the institution’s genealogy, and to introduce different perspectives into its spaces. Working with a wide range of artists on acquisitions, commissions, exhibitions and events, our contemporary art programme allows us The Hunterian to find new ways of using our historic collections to understand the contemporary world.
gla.ac.uk/hunterian @hunterian

First published: 10 January 2022