hundreds and thousands is a collection of editions and small works gathered over the last five years by William Angus-Hughes and Iavor Lubomirov. Angus-Hughes and Lubomirov are artists, gallerists, curators and organisers. Throughout their engagement with artists, they have held onto, asked for, commissioned, cast their eyes over and sometimes simply been brought a variety of artworks, which, like a trail of mementos from exhibitions and projects, are both a kind of show-reel of their curatorial history and a path pointing to their future. Although some of these artworks have featured in shows in their respective galleries, most have not and it is the artists represented in this exhibition that constitute an indirect record of the past and signify Lubomirov’s and Angus-Hughes’ ongoing interests.
The work itself is diverse and eclectic and the number of pieces in the show make it hard to take in at a glance, or to summarise thematically or otherwise. There is a richness and depth that comes from the time and history behind the collection, that make the whole perhaps curatorially comprehensible only to the two individuals behind it, but there are plenty of strands and tangents to be discerned and pulled out. There are conversations there about the making of multiples, about the role of the artist’s hand, about painting and sculpture, printmaking, photography, collage and assembly.
The overarching conversation is between Lubomirov and Angus-Hughes. While pursuing their separate paths, both have frequently been involved in each other’s projects as curators and have shown together as artists, so while it is very much possible to distinguish two distinct voices in the gallery, there are inevitable convergences and cross-articulations. While one or the other may have contributed a work to this exhibition, often both have played a part in its provenance. So while Lubomirov brings Gordon Cheung’s laser etched editions and Frances Richardson’s hand-made heritage tomatoes to the show, both have worked with Cheung and Richardson over the years. Lubomirov first engaged with Cheung in ‘Off The Clock’ in 2010, while Angus-Hughes recently created a wearable artwork for the artist. Frances Richardson showed one of her I-Beams at Angus-Hughes in a project curated by Richard Ducker in 2010, before another one took centre stage at Lubomirov’s first ‘Opinion Makers’ project in 2013. A drawing by Stewart Gough in a handmade oak frame featured in an exhibition curated by Lubomirov, before later finding its way into the Angus-Hughes collection.
There are differences, of course, most noticeably perhaps in the heavy bias towards sculpture in Lubomirov’s choices. Painting is represented by him too, in Seung Ah Paik’s series of unique-multiples series of nipples and fingers, as is printmaking, such as Brian Hodgson’s kinetic etchings made by spinning a top on an etching plate. But 3D works by artists such as Daryl Brown, Matt Blackler, or Oliver Macdonald predominate.
Although both Lubomirov and Angus-Hughes describe themselves as sculptors, Angus-Hughes has mostly retained framed works from the artists he has shown. However the format of the works is deceptive and the type of art represented is truly wide-ranging. This is due in part to the way that Angus-Hughes has worked mostly through curators and group shows, thus developing conversations that are more general and abstract, with multiple voices brought to bear. Thus there is for example a framed work by the performance artist Angus Braithwaite and another from Fred Lindberg, who for a long time has mostly worked in film. And while there are plenty of painters too, such as Tom Ormond and Peter Lamb (who although a painter, relies heavily on photography). there are other gems too, not all in frames, such as books by Oona Grimes and publications by the Modern Language Experiment.
There is a whole chorus of artists in this exhibition. Lubomirov’s and Angus-Hughes’ approaches to curation and programming come together en masse. In a sense they have put their cards on the table. This is because hundreds and thousands is not a retrospective. It is the start of a conversation and is intended to mark the beginning of their new partnership as Lubomirov / Angus-Hughes.