As part of an ongoing project for the Tate Britain Archive senior Leeds Beckett University lecturer Sarah Bowen showcased her continuing research work on the renowned Leeds artist Victor Newsome (1935-2018) at an exhibition at Casina Pompeiana , Naples, Italy, as part of a collaboration with the artist’s daughter Susanna Newsome.
Artist Victor Newsome (1935 – 2018) was born in Leeds and studied at Leeds College of Art from 1953-1960 with a two-year break to complete his National Service in the Navy. He then migrated to North London where he lived with a group of artists and musicians, several from Yorkshire and Leeds College of Art.
Victor was awarded a Prix-de-Rome in Painting at the British School and drove to Rome in his Austin Heavy 12 with his second wife, Ida Belsey. After the scholarship, Victor was offered a teaching post at Leicester College of Art by his former tutor Tom Hudson. With his pregnant third wife, the sculptor Cristina Bertoni, Victor drove back from Rome to Leicester moving into the old Kibworth rectory with the other artists teaching on Tom Hudson's new course. This ‘proto-commune’ became know as The Leicester Group.
Developed first at Leeds College of Art, drawing on Constructivism and the Bauhaus, Hudson’s new basic course turned Leicester College of Art into one of the most radical art teaching institutes in the UK with the basic course becoming the nationally established art school 'Foundation Year'.
Sarah photographed Victor Newsome’s studio after he died and it was there that Sarah met Susanna, Victor’s daughter.
‘This research developed from our conversations. The starting point was to gather information through interviews with Victor’s friends, family, lovers, haters, colleagues, and curators to create a video archive. With links to the Comune di Napoli in Italy, Susanna curated the Casina Pompeiana event from the research material gathered so far. This included part of the moving image research along with archive materials and public lectures. It was the first time that all of Victor's work was presented as a continuum described as his Sculpture Cycle, Bathroom Cycle, Figurative Cycle and Sacred Cycle. It was also the first time the public have had the opportunity to access Victor's archive before it relocated to Tate Britain.’
This research project continues with more events in development for 2020/21