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Clive GillmanClick here to Print this Page
David Critchley
That the rejection came shortly after the completion of this work is now a matter of personal - and anecdotal - histories.

Critchley actually admits to having burnt all his paper and documentary photographic work in 1983 and disposing of all his videotapes, including the masters in his possession, in black bin bags outside LVA in Tisbury Court on Wardour Street for collection by the Soho bin men.

Prior to this Critchley wrote to David Curtis (then leading the development of funding structures for artists film & video at the Arts Council of Great Britain) in November of 1980 to express concerns about the future direction of video art practice in the UK. In this letter he reflects upon what he perceives as a need to expand the notion of what constitutes the parameters of video art and notes that, "these seem to have been laid down some time ago by a very few... artist(s) with a personal notion of what video art should be, the things it should be concerned with and the way in which artists should approach these subjects.I find it interesting that these same people should now be floundering around looking for new bottles for old wine…"

From this point on, Critchley shifted direction quite profoundly, continuing to work in support of LVA and the broad swathe of artists working with video in the UK, but channelling his own efforts into working on small-scale charitable documentary production activity and adding no new titles to his artists CV until the late 1990s, when he appears to have finally reconciled his own dilemmas over the balance of form and content to return with some new installation works, most commissioned for very specific contexts. While these more recent works may demonstrate little in the way of apparent continuity with the early pieces, they clearly connect with the earnestness of the intent demonstrated in the 1970s, except that now Critchley is often working collaboratively, fulfilling a brief to create works that have a popular edge, exploring themes such as society's relationship with pharmaceuticals in locations like the Wellcome Trust Gallery. Currently Critchley is content that the largest and most widely experienced work he has created to date is the 'Cradle to Grave' piece created in collaboration with Pharmacopoeia and currently on permanent show at the British Museum in London.

Clive Gillman, artist and Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts

Clive Gillman
Clive Gillman, artist and Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts
Visitor examining details of Cradle to the Grave (2003)
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