by Tash Kahn and John Ros

This year’s gallery programme asks: What does it mean to have a voice, and what does it mean to speak? How can we question legacies of equality, history, place and power when thinking about social, cultural and physical visibility?

24 April - 15 July

Swiss Cottage Gallery presents 'Citizen', a collaborative exhibition by UK artist Tash Kahn and hosting US artist John Ros. Together, the artists respond to the themes of Camden VOX, exploring ideas of community, ethics, and why people do what they do.

Tash Kahn is interested in the differences and character of each of Camden’s voting wards. How have things changed over the years? Has history left its mark or have areas changed beyond recognition? Do today's inhabitants use the area differently to their predecessors? Using these questions as starting points she has travelled to each of the borough’s 18 wards, taking Polaroids, collecting ‘finds’ and recording local sounds in an effort to find answers.

Ros has looked back at the history of voting districts throughout the borough, considering how they influence our identities as citizens. How does each new boundary shape our identity? Ros has researched several spaces and times within the current boundaries of the borough, looking at voting trends since women have been given the right to vote. In doing so, he has marked out visual representations of the area questioning: What is a boundary? What is citizenry? How does one affect the other?

I am interested in the differences and character of each ward. Are they overtly noticeable? How has history left its mark? How has the area changed over the years? How do the inhabitants ‘inhabit’ the new, constantly changing space?

- Tash Kahn

The right to vote has not always been a guarantee. Looking back at voting districts and previous boundaries and maps of the London Borough of Camden, I develop sketches of space through time. The resulting visual representations ask deeper questions like: What is boundary? What is citizenry? How does one affect the other?

-  John Ros

About the artists

Tash Kahn studied Fine Art at the University of East London in 1995. A painter for many years, her work now resides in a more conceptual realm. She predominantly works site-specifically, using a location's immediate surrounding area and local history as starting points. She is interested in how people relate to art, the conversations it generates and how it makes them feel.

Kahn has exhibited both nationally and internationally, with a recent collaboration at Stand4 Gallery in New York with John Ros and Karl England. The site-specific exhibition took place in Brooklyn and London, and continues to be an ongoing virtual project. Group exhibitions include: The Mechanical Reproduction of Dust (2018) Stand4 Gallery, New York, Asymmetrical Intersections (2016) SHIM, New York, DOLPH: The Directors (2015), DOLPH, London, Bread and Jam III (2015) 54 Whitbread Road, London, Skim (2015) ASC Gallery, London, Circus TM, Belmacz, London.

In 2014, Kahn co-founded the visual-arts project DOLPH, and has helped facilitate 22 exhibitions, making partnerships with two Lambeth primary schools, UAL Wimbledon, The Royal College of Art, as well as numerous artists in the UK, New York and Berlin. DOLPH provides an alternative way for the community to engage with contemporary art, as well as being an invaluable learning and networking resource for artists. She is also a freelance editor for Penguin and Sluice Magazine.

John Ros is an artist, curator, professor, and activist. He currently lives and works in New York City and Harrisonburg, Virginia, US. He obtained an MFA from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, in 2013 and a BFA from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2000.

Ros is an Assistant Professor of Art at James Madison University’s School of Art, Design, and Art History, where he also serves as the Director and Chief Curator of the Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art. He has taught at the City Literary Institute (London, UK), Brooklyn College (New York, NY, US), SUNY Binghamton (Binghamton, NY, US) and the National Academy of Art (New York, NY, US), and has lectured as a visiting artist at NYU: Steinhardt, London Metropolitan University, George Mason University, North Florida Community College and Jefferson Technical and Community College among others. In 2015 Ros founded studioELL, an alternative, transient and hybrid space for higher education in the studio arts, where he is currently the Director and teaches a variety of courses.

During the past 20 years, Ros has worked on more than 65 exhibitions with over 200 artists. He founded two alternative gallery ventures, pocket, (2002-2005, Binghamton, NY, US) and galleryELL, a transient, hybrid gallery, (2008-2016, New York, NY, US), and has been involved in many artist and non-profit initiatives such as; Art Director of Perspectives International (2005-2008, New York, NY, US), Board Member of Spool MFG. (2004-2005, Johnson City, NY, US), and Museum Educator at the Hillwood Art Museum (2000, Brookville, NY, US).

John Ros' limited edition prints are for sale and available to collect from Swiss Cottage Gallery! See below for a price list.

Visit John Ros' website here and Tash Kahn's (@thisladypaints) gallery DOLPH here! 

About Camden Vox
Taking inspiration from the Women’s Suffrage movement and the centenary of the Representation of the People act, Camden VOX will celebrate and explore themes of equality, place, history and power. Camden’s annual arts programme will offer free and low cost arts and cultural events for those who live, work in and visit the Borough.Through celebrating Camden’s unique spirit which is rebellious, creative and progressive, and working with partners and key cultural institutions in the borough, Camden VOX offers a thought provoking and engaging arts and cultural programme for 2018, featuring theatre, pop-up performance, song, spoken word, exhibitions, commissions and artist led, drop in family friendly workshops across the borough.

Want to see more shows? Have a look at our past and upcoming exhibitions at Swiss Cottage Gallery!

For more information on Camden VOX please visit our programme page! 

#camdenvox #citizen #johnros #tashkahn