Kings Place Gallery, London
21 June - 22 September 2013
In 1937 Ruth Berendsohn married Kurt Borchard and in the following year, like many other Jewish refugees, fled Nazi Germany for Britain. Ironically, as a victim of persecution, she was then interned as an “enemy alien”, first in Holloway prison and then in an internment camp on the Isle of Man. Her semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical novel, “We are Strangers Here”, vivid enough to make a memorable film, is based on her Holloway experiences while her detention on the Isle of Man demonstrated her extraordinary resilience.
After the war this cultivated and resolute woman followed up her interest in memoirs and diaries by focusing upon their visual arts equivalent, self-portraits. With a certain chutzpah she offered promising artists of the day 21 guineas for their self-portrait and was rarely refused. She was prescient, too: the collection that she acquired, almost 100 works, includes Euan Uglow, Anthony Eyton, Patrick Proctor and Roger Hilton, a veritable constellation of future stars.
In 2011 the first Borchard Self-Portrait Competition was held to signal the centenary of her birth as well as a means of bringing the collection up to date. Celia Paul’s poignant study was the winner and has since been purchased for the Collection along with paintings by Maggi Hambling, Mary Mabbutt, Marcelle Hanselaar, Eleanor Bowen, Brita Granstrom, Hannah Webb and others. In the original collection there were only five women artists and their greater representation now is not a matter of a feminist redressing of the gender balance but simply a recognition of quality.
The 2013 Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition is intended to reflect and celebrate the traditions which inform the Borchard Collection by encouraging the development of these ideas into British art of the twenty-first century.
In 2008 the University Gallery’s sister organisation Kings Place Gallery opened in London, providing a touring link for exhibitions and events initiated by the University Gallery. This unique and enterprising development places the University of Northumbria at the heart of the city’s regeneration area which includes the relocation of Central St Martins in 2012 on the site opposite, between St Pancras and Kings Cross Station.
Kings Place Gallery, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG
T 0207 520 1485
Monday to Saturday 10am - 6pm
Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays