Curating Commissioning Producing


Offer & Exchange: Sites of Negotiation in Contemporary Art
Commission No. 1
Carey Young - Mutual Release

Thomas Dane Project Space, 14 Mason's Yard, London SW1
20 November - 15 December 2008

Electra and Thomas Dane Gallery are pleased to announce Mutual Release, a new commission consisting of print, text and video works based on a legal theme by the artist Carey Young. It is the first exhibition at the Thomas Dane Project Space, and the first in the series of new commissions Offer & Exchange: Sites of Negotiation in Contemporary Art, curated by Daniel McClean and Lisa Rosendahl and produced by Electra.

Can the legal contract be a form of art? Working closely with a team of lawyers specialising in media and intellectual property law, Carey Young has created a series of new works which invite the viewer to enter into, or be privy to contractual relationships based on viewing, owning and collecting art.

By treating the law as an artistic medium, the artist allows the viewer to experience the otherwise abstract space of the contract. In the show, visitors will be offered a free work, which acquires the status of a work of art only once it has been signed by them. From then on, the owners and the artist enter into a contract, which ends only with the death of the artist and / or the owner. Art becomes bound to life and death. In a text work which plays on the legacies of Institutional Critique, the artist and the gallery enter into a contract which offers each 'complete mutual release'. In a new video, we see an actor interpret legal terms from a commercial contract as a form of acting exercise.

With legally-trained executives increasingly running movie studios, news agencies and universities, Mutual Release addresses the legal 'lock down' of contemporary cultural life. Through this exhibition the artist further develops her interest in both the performative and the conceptual dimension of the law to explore its limits and to destablise its language.

Offer and Exchange: Sites of Negotiation in Contemporary Art is a series of site-specific commissions inviting artists using legal contracts as artistic frameworks. Each commission has been conceived for one of the following sites in which art is made visible: (i) the commercial gallery; (ii) the corporate collection; (iii) the art magazine; (iv) the public institution; (v) the private collection; (vi) the auction house; (viii) the art fair. Mutual Release by Carey Young explores contractual relationships in the context of the commercial gallery.

Carey Young has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally, recently with a solo show at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2007), and exhibiting in Performa 05 Biennial (2005), at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2004) and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton & touring show (2001-2). Her work has appeared in numerous group shows including: A Short History of Performance Part II, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003); Sharjah Biennial 7, Sharjah (2005), British Art Show 6, BALTIC, Newcastle & tour (20056); How to Improve the World, Hayward Gallery, London (2006); Moscow Biennale 2, Moscow (2007); Islands and Ghettoes, Heidelberger Kunstverein (2008), Business as Usual, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2008), and the performance series Hey Hey Glossolalia, curated by Creative Time, staged in New York (May 2008). In 2009 she will have solo shows at The Power Plant, Toronto, the Museum of Contemporary Art St Louis and Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis. For more info on her work see

The Legal Team
Robert Lands is a Partner and Head of Intellectual Property & Media at London-based law firm Finers Stephens Innocent. Dr. Jaime Stapleton is an Associate Research Fellow at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.

The Curators
Daniel McClean is a curator and practising lawyer specialising in art law, media and intellectual property law at Withers LLP (London and New York). Lisa Rosendahl is a curator and writer. She is the Director of the Baltic Art Center in Visby, Sweden.

Electra is a UK-based contemporary art agency which specialises in curating, commissioning and producing ambitious cross-disciplinary projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts.

Thomas Dane Project Space
Located nearby the main gallery in Mason's Yard, off Duke Street, St. James's, the Project Space is dedicated to exhibitions of emerging or younger artists and often working with independent curators. The space will host short, investigative shows at various times throughout the year.

14 Mason's Yard

Leigh Robb +44 (0) 20 7925 2505 or

Image: Still from Carey Young, 'Uncertain Contract', 2008, video. Actor Mark Burrell.

Curator Interview
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Offer & Exchange: Sites of Negotiation
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