Vigo Gallery is proud to announce The Lazio Site, the first exhibition of a major Boyle Family World Series project since the exhibition of their Barra site at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2010. Boyle Family began their World Series in 1968 and it has featured in major exhibitions of their work ever since, including their British Pavilion solo exhibition at the XXXIX Venice Biennale in 1978.
Boyle Family occupies a unique position in contemporary British art. Mark Boyle and Joan Hills began collaborating on their work in the early 1960s, quickly gaining a reputation in the alternative London art scene with their performance events, projection works and sculptures. Towards the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s, their children, Sebastian and Georgia Boyle became increasingly involved. Their adoption of the collective title Boyle Family in the mid – 1980s was followed by a series of major museum and gallery exhibitions including 'Beyond Image' at London’s Hayward Gallery. Following the death of Mark Boyle in 2005, Joan, Sebastian and Georgia have continued to work and exhibit collectively.
Boyle Family coined the term contemporary archaeology in 1966 and it continues to be a valid description of their aims and practice, examining and presenting evidence of the world as it is with a quasi-scientific objectivity and inclusiveness. They are probably best known for their Earth Studies, three-dimensional works which both document and in a sense archive random sites from the surface of the Earth, combining real material with resins and paints to record the sites with great accuracy. In addition to the Earth Studies, they examine plant and animal life at the site, nearby human habitation, elemental features, the weather and themselves as active agents engaged in the project, often using photography, film and other documentary techniques.
The World Series forms their most extensive work: an on-going project to locate, examine and present one thousand randomly selected sites from the Earth’s surface. The random selections for the World Series were made at an event at the artist’s London flat in August 1968 and during a launch exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) the following year, with blindfolded visitors to the exhibition firing darts at a large unseen map of the World. The first site was undertaken in The Hague in 1970 and other World Series sites have been completed in Denmark, Norway, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, Scotland, and Spain. They are currently working on World Series commissions in Sweden and France for the Royal British Society of Sculptors and the Levett Collection, continuing their ambition to complete as many of the original selection of sites as possible.
At each site Boyle Family use further random selection techniques to narrow the site down to a specific 6’ x 6’ (1.8m) location. The Lazio site is in olive groves in the hills above the town of Fondi, between Rome and Naples, with earth that has been burnt and scorched by the regular burning of leaves and branches. Along with the main Earth Study the project includes elemental studies of the predominant limestone rock in the area as well as striking electron microphotographs of insects and plant material found at the site; studies of the physical responses of the artists, and a film of the local community as a social organism. The exhibition also includes the original World Series map showing the 1000 sites, the first time it has been seen in London since the 1969 ICA exhibition. To coincide with this exhibition Boyle Family and Vigo Gallery are producing a limited edition facsimile copy of the World Series map in book form.
Boyle Family works are in over fifty museum and public collections including Tate, London; Los Angeles County Museum; Stuttgart Staatsgalerie; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.