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Protest Drives History, poster, Freee, May 2008, Commissioned for ICA bar for ‘Nought to Sixty’ exhibition, photograph by Catherine Hyland

Protest Drives History, Billboard (Shepherds Bush Road, London), Freee, June 2008, Commissioned for ICA, photograph by Catherine Hyland Protest Drives History, Billboard (Highgate Road, Kentish Town, London), Freee, June 2008, Commissioned for ICA, photograph by Catherine Hyland Protest Drives History, Billboard (Hassard Street, Hackney, London), Freee, June 2008, Commissioned for ICA, photograph by Catherine Hyland
Protest Drives History, Billboard & Banner, (Hassard Street, Hackney, London), Freee, June 2008, Commissioned for ICA Protest Drives History, poster, installation view, Freee, May 2008, commissioned for ICA bar for ‘Nought to Sixty’ exhibition, photograph by Catherine Hyland Protest Drives History, poster, installation view, Freee, May 2008. commissioned for ICA bar for ‘Nought to Sixty’ exhibition, photograph by Catherine Hyland

Nought to Sixty, ICA London, UK, June 2008, poster installed in ICA Bar, June 2008 – January 2009.

When invited to take part in the ICA’s Nought to Sixty exhibition we chose to occupy the main wall of the most public part of the building, the bar. Here, unlike in the galleries, we would expect a large number of passersby (that is, individuals present before the work who can not be counted on to engage with it). It therefore functions as background or décor, in the manner of billboards and advertising rather than paintings and other artworks. Once again, then, we ask questions about the public of the work and cause frictions and divisions within an existing social body.

Nought to Sixty is an ambitious, fast-moving programme of exhibitions and events that – over the course of six months – is presenting solo projects by sixty emerging British- and Irish-based artists. This wide-ranging programme is being held at the ICA from spring until autumn 2008, over which period there will be new events staged every week, building up a multi-faceted portrait of the contemporary art scene in Britain and Ireland.

The artists in Nought to Sixty are drawn from a thriving art scene that stretches across Britain and Ireland, but which is especially concentrated in cities such as London, Glasgow and Dublin. Most of the participating artists are under thirty-five, and few of them have had significant commercial exposure. The project draws instead on a network of artist-run initiatives and brings this energy into the ICA, emphasising the ICA’s founding role as a club which fosters exchange between artists – and between artists and the public.

Mark Sladen – Director of exhibitions, ICA. Read more

Beech, Hewitt and Jordan have recently begun to appear in the billboard images, underscoring their collective presence as a means of intervention. And for Nought to Sixty, Freee have designed a new work in this spirit entitled Protest Drives History (2008), which will appear on a wall of the ICA Bar and on a billboard in an off-site location. Using a photograph taken in one of the UK’s biggest quarries, the monumental scale of the environment belies the size of Freee’s own five-metre long banner depicting the title statement.

Isla Leaver-Yap, catalogue entry for Protest Drives History. Read more