Benjamin Bridges, Matthew Cowan, Annabel Dover, Debbie Lawson, Cathy Lomax, William Morris, Laura Oldfield Ford, Alex Pearl, Alli Sharma, Mimei Thompson, Mark Titchner, Joel Tomlin
Alex Pearl, Bungalow, found photograph with transfer, 2014
Kelmscott House, 26 Upper Mall, Hammersmith W6 9TA
8 June – 26 July 2014
Private View: Thursday 12 June, 5-9pm
Opening Hours: 8-15 June open daily 2-5pm for ArtsFest, then Thurs and Sat afternoons 2-5pm until 26 July
‘… if others can see it as I have seen it, then it may be called a vision rather than a dream.’ William Morris
News from Nowhere takes its title from William Morris’ utopian novel and vision for a future free from capitalism, alienation and industrialisation. In our current climate of political uncertainty, ‘disappearance’ of the working classes and shifting populations, Morris’ longings for a better world seem more pertinent than ever. Morris became increasingly involved in political activism and founded the Hammersmith Socialist Society, which held Sunday evening lecturers in the Coach House at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith. The location is directly referred to in News from Nowhere and the exhibition will take place in the historic meeting room. Morris also set up carpet looms in the Coach House before moving to Merton Abbey in 1881 and the small rugs and carpets made here are known as Hammersmith rugs.
Morris’s uncompromising desire to see an end to mass production and return to small-scale local production seems like a very modern view. His socialism was imbued with environmentalism and understanding of the brutalising nature of the modern city. Whilst his idealised vision may be flawed (in the novel the women do all the housework, bring up the children and serve the men with food), his passion is inspiring and the exhibition will bring into focus his vital message, to dare to dream. Incorporating works from the William Morris Society collection, News from Nowhere picks up the dialogue where ideas about the environment, idealised society, personal longings and dreams for the future continue to yearn, seethe, simmer and provoke.