David Mabb’s on his 'co-creation' with William Morris

Mabb, David. 2014. 'David Mabb’s on his 'co-creation' with William Morris'. In: Art Talk 2014. University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom 2014. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

David Mabb has been ‘collaborating’ with the 19th century designer and socialist William Morris for about fifteen years. William Morris thought that interior design had a fundamental role to play in the transformation of everyday life. This essentially political motivation – a commitment to the radical potential of design – is behind much of his work as a designer and craftsman and the setting up of Morris & Co. Morris’ designs constituted a radical break with the orthodoxy of neo-Gothic of his time. They are highly schematized representations of nature, where it is always summer and never winter; the plants are always in leaf, often flowering, with their fruits available in abundance, ripe for picking, and with no human labour in sight. Mabb’s paintings, photographs, textiles and videos all, in different ways, work with and against Morris’ utopian designs by contrasting them with other forms of modernist production, including Malevich, Rodchenko, Stepanova and Popova paintings and designs, modernist architecture, photographs of industry and political slogans. Mabb never simply paints or covers over the Morris pattern with another image, elements of the Morris pattern always poke or burst through. This combination produces an unstable picture space that is never fixed, where a Morris design and the other image are never able to fully merge or separate.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)


William Morris, design, modernism

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Event Location:

University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

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Date Deposited:

03 Sep 2019 08:24

Last Modified:

03 Sep 2019 08:24



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