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The University of Southampton
Winchester Centre for Global Futures in Art Design & Media

New Exhibition Showcases Work of WSA Research Students

Published: 12 February 2014

A new exhibition in the Level 4 Gallery of Southampton University’s Hartley Library is showcasing the diverse and innovative practices of Winchester School of Art's research students and highlighting their production of new knowledge.

Image - Text - Object: Practices of Research prompts viewers to “think about different ways of seeing, thinking, writing and making”. The exhibition, curated by WSA PhD student Jane Birkin, stimulates critical questioning of the relationship between theory and practice, and reflection as to how it might be understood and re-imagined.

The work on show is diverse and engaging; along one wall, Simiao Wang’s drawn scroll piece plays with Chinese and Western traditions to communicate an appropriately hybrid meditation on Buddhist teaching on anger, its tender probing reminiscent of Botticelli’s drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy . On the other side of the room, a typographic investigation into performativity and conservation by Walter van Rijn joyously makes use of old computer technology to play new games; the titles of artworks from the John Hansard Gallery’s exhibitions archive move across a screen in the designer’s polyvocal fontface, demanding that we ask what and where the art object is. More sombre, but no less pregnant with lively questions, is Lisa Temple-Cox’s collection of carefully placed objects, part medicinal curios, part ethnographic objects, always created , both drawing us in and repudiating us, as sensuous and inexplicably alluring as they are sinister.

These students are only a few of those whose work is on show here and examples of the practice of a small number of WSA staff members are also on display, offering a discreet and sensitive contribution. All the works are alive with questions, reflecting the School’s lively research culture. The curatorship is witty and thoughtful; the decision to attribute Dewey reference numbers to indicate each work’s place in the library categorisation system is less a conceit and more an indication of the exhibition’s serious intent. As the work hovers quietly in the library space, clearly in sight of nearby desk-bound students, it constitutes an insistent call to widen understandings of what it means to make and engage, or, at the very least, to consider reading and writing as only one form of valid knowledge practice.

The exhibition Image - Text - Object: Practices of Research is located on Level 4 Gallery of the Hartley Library at the University of Southampton’s Highfield Campus, and will be on display from February 10th to 16th March 2014.  For further information on the exhibition, see the WSA Postgraduate Centre blog at

Image caption: Nina Pancheva-Kirkova How to Create an Ideal Past (detail)

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