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Untitled, circa 1994 by artist Giles Round is presented across the North and South Galleries, combining archival research with the production of new work, presentations of modernist design and a programme of live events. Design is a register of our changing priorities, tastes and politics and therefore can be a lens through which to understand the evolution of society. This exhibition draws on Round’s  long standing investigations into these narratives – of product design, histories of display and the ways in which we choose to identify, record and organise them. It is a meditation on the evolution of ideas and how they are communicated.

The project also marks the start of a new collaboration between Brighton CCA and the University of Brighton Design Archives. An artist or designer is invited to spend time exploring the collections with the Design Archives team, to then use their research as the starting point to develop a new body of work. Each exhibition will be framed jointly by the holdings of the archives and the chosen artist’s wider practice, offering insight to their ideas and creative process.

Giles Round is an artist working across sculpture, print making, architecture with extensive knowledge of the histories of design and display. Round’s father was a chartered electrical engineer who worked for the LEB (London Electricity Board). Beginning with this personal history and following an extended period of research in the Design Archives, Round has chosen to focus on holdings in the archives of Bernard Schottlander, Theo Crosby and FHK Henrion relating to lighting design. The exhibition is a reflection of how the work of these designers has been recorded and what role the archival images play in our understanding of them. Untitled, circa 1994 refers both to the date when the Design Council Archive arrived at the University of Brighton and to the problem of naming things as they evolve and change over time.

The exhibition is in two halves. In the North Gallery, Round has created a working studio space and sculpture workshop offering an insight into his creative practice. Images and materials selected from the archive’s collections inform the production of prints and sculpture. The work table at the heart of the installation has been designed by Round and produced specially for the exhibition, shown alongside a selection of classic modernist furniture and lighting. Over the course of the exhibition Round will use this space to produce new work, collaborating with the Print Making Department in the School of Art. Additionally the gallery will host a social space for events and screenings of The Queer Cinema and the Movies of Gus Van Sant Film Club – a nomadic project and porous collective dedicated to queer filmmaking.

In the South Gallery, Round has devised an installation recreating a series of still images, which he discovered in the Design Council Archive, from Lighting, produced for the Design Centre. The monochrome photographs have both the paired back quality of a still life or theatrical set. Working with the gallery’s street front location, Round has created a contemporary manifestation of these images using a combination of industrial light fittings and digital software to create a changing installation fully coming to life during the hours of darkness. A set of the original images, demonstrating the effect of different forms of lighting, can be found in the North gallery. Over the course of the exhibition, sculptures produced in the studio workshop – inspired by the archives – will gradually be introduced generating a layering of images and readings of the collection within the gallery space.

This new collaboration offers a chance to encounter the University of Brighton Design Archives collections through the work of artists. This process based approach to exhibiting an artists’ work is at the heart of the project with the public programme of artist led studio tours, workshops and screenings offering further alternatives to engage with Round’s practice as a whole. In addition, a display of related materials from the Design Archives will be presented in the Atrium Gallery in February.

Untitled, circa 1994 inlcudes works commissioned by 80WSE, Cove Park, Emalin, The Hepworth Wakefield, Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, The National Trust, The Queer Cinema and the Movies of Gus van Sant Film Club, Ian Round, Serpentine Galleries and Spike Island.

Articulated wall lamp with two red reflectors by Bernard Schottlander, courtesy of University of Brighton Design Archives Bernard Schottlander Archive.

Thanks to: University of Brighton Design Archives team (Sue Breakell, Lesley Whitworth, Barbara Taylor and Sirpa Kutilainen), Vic Brooks, Sophie Brown, Wayne Case, Dido Crosby, Ray Dennis, Henrion Estate, Jochen Holz, Chris Hunt, Nicola Lees, Lucia Pietroiusti, Laure Prouvost, The Queer Cinema and the Movies of Gus Van Sant Film Club, Race Furniture, Andrés Ros Soto, Ian Round, Serpentine Galleries, Holly Shuttleworth, Patrick Staff, Kostas Stasinopoulos, Leopold Thun and Evan Calder Williams.

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