A friend in common, 2017
"A friend in common" presents fictionalised correspondence between Spanish educator and anarchist Francisco Ferrer Guardia and prominent artists of early twentieth century. These intimate letters anchor the radical art movements within a politically turbulent era, when fascism was on the rise across Europe and World War I was on the horizon.
The Modern School, founded by Francisco Ferrer, pinpoints a fleeting yet significant period in history when attempts were made to create counter-cultures to the so-called 'factory model' of nineteenth century education. Established in Barcelona in 1901, the short-lived Ferrer school aimed to educate working class children in non-coercive settings, with the aim of eradicating inequality, instigating social change and equipping young students with the critical vision and skills to lead a workers' revolution.
"A friend in common" is an installation with ink drawings and texts that crosses the ideologies of the particular educational program of the Modern School with the positions of early twentieth century artists in a fictionalised correspondence.
In it we find letters by 20-year-old Picasso expressing his gratitude for teaching at the school; Paul Signac pointing out the role of art as a revolutionary tool; letters on feminism, art-making and differing positions regarding art education.
INSTALLATION. DRAWINGS AND TEXT
See also "The Book of Aesthetic Education of the Modern School".
Exhibition view of "A friend in common", included in the group exhibition IT'S VERY NEW SCHOOL, at Rua Red South Dublin Arts Centre,Tallaght, Dublin, IE. Curated by Jennie Guy.
Download PDF with the letters: