Ken. To be Destroyed
The remarkable Ken. To be destroyed exhibition comes to Moose on the Loose 2017 at the London College of Communication after its successful six-month showing at the Schwules Museum in Berlin. A collaboration between UAL Reader and artist Dr Sara Davidmann and the UAL Photography and the Archive Research Centre, the exhibition and publication explores Davidmann’s practice-based research project and the new work which has emerged from it, by Davidmann herself and via a practice-based collaboration between Davidmann and Graham Goldwater, plus the curatorial shaping of the project, ongoing for the last two years.
Ken. To be destroyed began with an archive and a discovery. Artist and photographer Sara Davidmann and her siblings inherited letters and photographs belonging to her uncle and aunt, Ken and Hazel Houston, from their mother Audrey Davidmann. It emerged soon after they were married that Ken was trans*. In the context of a British marriage in the 1950s, this inevitably profoundly affected both, their own relationship and their relationships to their social surroundings.
The archive contains letters, photographs and papers. Hazel and Audrey wrote to each other frequently in the late 1950s and early 60s, after Hazel discovered that Ken was transgender. These letters tell Ken and Hazel’s very private story. For the public Ken was a man, but in the privacy of the home Ken was a woman.
Looking at the vintage photographs Davidmann became acutely aware of their surfaces. The marks of time and damage had become part of the images. This led her to work on the surfaces of the photographs she produced using ink, chalks, magic markers and correction fluid. Later works, in which Sara Davidmann has tried to visualize how Ken might have looked as a woman, are fictional photographs made with digital negatives, hand colouring, darkroom chemicals and bleach.
Sara Davidmann has worked with Professor Val Williams to create this new exhibition, for Moose on the Loose 2017, which combines original archive material with Sara’s new work and, showing for the first time, Archive the collaboration between Sara Davidmann and LCC’s Graham Goldwater.
Also opening from 7 March 2017 in the PARCspace will be Ken: The Archive of a Projectand a new typographical work from Alex Cooper and a selection of poster-sized artworks in the LCC studio in the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.
The exhibition is accompanied by the Ken. To be destroyed book, published by Schilt. Copies will be available for sale during the Private View and throughout the run of the exhibition.
This exhibition was originally curated by Val Williams, Director of Photography and the Archive Research Centre, (PARC) and Robin Silas Christian, formerly PARC Project Manager, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
Find out more about PARC: www.photographyresearchcentre.co.uk
Find out more about Sara: www.saradavidmann.com
Find out more about Robin: www.robinchristian.org
Find out more about Val: www.valwilliams.uk
Find out more about Schilt: www.schiltpublishing.com
17 February - 26 March
10am - 6pm,
Thursday 16 February: Private View and book signing: 6-8pm. Open to all.
Upper Gallery, LCC
Elephant & Castle
London, London SE1 6SB