Barbara Steveni

I Am An Archive
Series of documented walks (2002–)

Conversations Between Ourselves
Series of documented conversations (2013–)

Barbara Steveni (formerly Barbara Latham) was a founding member of the APG. As an artist with a background in performance, happenings and assemblage, she took part in the conceptual shift in art practice as advocated by the APG and became its practical driving force. Gathering a board of trustees to form an organisation, she put the concept into practice, together with John Latham and a group of fellow artists.

Panel discussion “Die Nutzung künstlerischen Potenzials für Regierungs- und Verwaltungsaufgaben”, Kunstverein Bonn, 1977 © Stadtarchiv Bonn, Fotografische Sammlung – Bestand Fritz Fischer

For more than two decades, Steveni acted as a key organiser behind the APG’s activities, maintaining contacts and driving negotiations with countless organisations and institutions, while insisting on the APG’s specific method, including payment for artists in placements, and the open brief. She administered the daily tasks of the APG office with the help of other, often female colleagues. Her role as a female artist and as instigator of the idea of artist placements has largely been overshadowed by job descriptions such as ‘honorary secretary’ and ‘coordinator’, and not least by her husband John Latham’s well known work and his influence on the written output of the APG.

In 2002 Steveni initiated I Am An Archive, tracing her role within APG and its successor O+I, through a series of walks, revisits and interviews. This ongoing performative archive project is concerned with involving new generations of artists and thinkers in revisiting APG’s history, and in discussing the legacy and potential of the group’s activities for their work today.

Following the 2012 APG exhibition at Raven Row in London, Steveni became more aware of the invisibility of the women involved in the avantgarde scene at that time and also within the APG network, and has undertaken a series of conversations to give voice to these women, alongside her own. So far Conversations Between Ourselves has featured: Sarah Wedderburn (Riverside Studios), Julie Lawson (ICA), Anna Ridley (TV Producer), Felicity Sparrow (Circles), Laure Prouvost (Artist), Deborah Brisley (APG), Jane Trowell (Platform), Jo Melvin (Art Historian UAL/Studio International) and Carlyle Reedy (Artist/O+I).

There will be an opportunity to view a selection from both series during the exhibition.