HERE FOR A GOOD TIME
NOT A LONG TIME
HERE FOR A GOOD TIME NOT A LONG TIME was a retrospective exhibition at SET Studios Project Space, New Cross, London in August 2021.
How do you draw an art practice to some kind of close? You can't really.
Neither of us know how to put into words exactly what forging this friendship and partnership has given us, done to us, but we both know we are forever changed by it. And we can't believe how lucky we have been really to work with the people we have, and pursue this wild and weird way of making with others.
This exhibition marked a shift. Our current way of working together is ending, life beyond art needs tending to and the next chapter will be split between Perth, West Australia and the UK. So watch this space for the best postal art project you've ever seen...
What follows is an account of the moment. But first here is our 'press release' we sent to friends, family, collaborators, mentors, champions and fans (mostly of molejoy). Setting the tone for and precluding a very sweet, funny and strange celebration of 6 years of art and noise making together.
'Anglo Australian artist duo Sophie + Kerri (1990 / 1986) were the daughters of their mothers who became remarkable British art icons. They came to international prominence in the mid 2010’s with their groundbreaking workshop ‘FUCK IT LET’S MAKE A BAND’, at the influential and contentious Antiuniversity Festival. This seismic event gave birth, with astronaut Giles Brunch, to their platinum selling, grammy award nominated punk band - molejoy. It was also then that they became fond of caps lock and making demands, both attributes that would serve the rest of their long lasting collaboration.
Celebrated as sculptors, musicians, softies, dancers, writers, cooks, political neusences, costume designers, kill-joys, friends and filmmakers, with some of the most instantly recognisable works of contemporary art; everyone remembers the 'Jeremy Deller Fucking Himself’ print that sold at Sotheby’s for over £10.
After locking eyes drilling the same piece of wood
in a DIY art shed-come performance pavilion in a south London back garden, they joined forces. Never looking back, they forged their uniquely controversial and critically acclaimed amateurism in the steaming rubbish fire of pre, mid and post Brexit Britain. Their reputation was built on their power to have lols and this landmark exhibition spanning nearly 6 years worth of artwork includes well-known and influential pieces such as ‘Guttural Living’, ‘Idle Acts’ and ‘Oracular Theatre’. Important pieces made with other long standing provocateurs and infamous collaborators in art, dance, literature, agriculture and film.
Popularly radical and radically popular, this is the first major solo retrospective of Sophie + Kerri in the world. ‘HERE FOR A GOOD TIME NOT A LONG TIME’ highlights the full extent of the artists’ work, which has encompassed a diverse range of juxtaposed techniques and ideas. In a career in which they have continuously innovated and re-invented their style, each corner of SET Studios New Cross Project Space will capture a different moment of their rich journey. Through unparalleled access to their disoeuvre (Allen, 2019), it includes rarely seen notes, drawings and bits of stuff from their varied archive.
This exhibition, organised in collaboration with and funded by each other, is the
first full-scale retrospective of any artist duo whose career spanned 6 years by 2 female artists with fringes in the known world
and promises to be, the ULTIMATE Sophie + Kerri experience.
"Brave! No retrospective in the history of female-fringed duos will delve as deeply and unhindered into the artist's process and mind. From one duo to another, their ingenuity is unparalleled by any other duo and is a gift to us and humanity. They say three is a crowd, well two is a whole bloody village. Duo-conic! Unstoppable from start to finish!" -SamOne SamTwo'
The exhibition featured: a timeline wall of all our gumph, drawings, quotes and photographs we have carried like talismans from studios to residencies to attics along the way.
Stretching into ourselves
through the many Antiuniversity events, the formation of molejoy, experiments in choreography, singing into pumpkins, personal journeys with ourselves, to playing in playgrounds, building furniture and improvising sci fi...
molejoy played, of course, on the opening night. Every single song we ever wrote in an outer body experience of, some would say self indulgence - hopefully others would say
Alongside a selection of 6 different limited edition archival prints, a re-print of the Mum Q's book 'Private Insurrections to Loosen Public Ground' and a collection of stubbie holders with our artworks on.
The Table was assembled for the weekend with Sophie's Dad, who is quite experienced at it by now. Displaying memories and motifs of our time in Beeston.
Next door we had a show reel of our films FUCK IT LET'S MAKE A BAND, Edge Gestures, Guttural Living, Idle Acts, Oracular Theatre and Low-fi Sci-fi. Watched nestled amongst cushions from What Happened Beween? On the walls we had drawings and paintings from those works, alongside our PLAY ACT CARDS.
Outside the Sympoetic Tools were nestled in the courtyard, crawling around and over the frame, like the grid... as Ocean Vuong says in his beautiful book 'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous':
"Remember: The rules, like streets, can only take you to known places. Underneath the grid is a field - it was always there - where to be lost is never to be wrong, but simply more."
Specially commissioned texts for the night can be found on the project pages: musings on The Table written by Marsha Bradfield, And then reflecting on Low-fi Sci-fi by Zuleika Lebow and a sort of metaphorical book end by Beth Bramich Sophie and Kerri aren't dead ... on the show itself and our collaboration.
It was attended by those dearest to us and it felt like the right way to celebrate what was, what is and to say goodbye, for now.
Thanks a million to Amy Pennington our saviour, bar manager and angel, Spud aka Andrew Walker for the superb bar work also. To the band Barry for lending drums, Rubie Green for supplying almost every other bit of kit and making it so people could actually hear us on the night.
Thanks to SET for letting us use the space for free and all the interlopers along the way - DIY til we die.
Follow your gut.
Start a band.
Be in a duo.
It's the best.