Forced Journeys was hosted by the Ben Uri in conjunction with a new MA teaching module at the Courtauld Institute, London, entitled "Arts in Exile in Britain 1933-45". The course is led by Dr Shulamith Behr from the Courtauld in partnership with Sander L Gilman, distinguished Visiting Professor from Emory University, Atlanta, USA
The exhibition is co-curated by Rachel Dickson and Sarah MacDougall who have collaborated on the Ben Uri's extensive and groundbreaking series of exhibitions focusing on the ‘Whitechapel Boys’, most recently Whitechapel at War: Isaac Rosenberg and His Circle (2008).
The exhibition marks the first formal collaboration between the Ben Uri and a post-graduate university course; previous relationships with universities have included exhibition study days held in conjunction with both Leeds and Kingston Universities, and Ben Uri exhibitions have toured to both the Newcastle and Leeds University galleries.This joint venture is particularly significant given the Courtauld’s role as one of the foremost art history teaching institutions and the Ben Uri’s own history in supporting and fostering immigrant artists throughout the twentieth century.
Drawing on artists largely (though not exclusively) of German and Austrian descent, but with roots from across Europe and the Middle East, the exhibition will comprise some 90 works, including painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography, posters, sculpture and ephemera.
Core works will be drawn from the Ben Uri's own collection and from a private collection courtesy of Dr Jutta Vinzent of Birmingham University, co-author of Art & Migration (Barber Institute, 2005).
A small number of works by additional artists from outside sources, including Ernst Eisenmayer, Hermann Fechenbach, Henry Inlander, Pamina Liebert-Mahrenholz, Georg Mayer-Marton, Marie-Louise von Motesiczky, Hans Schleger ('Zero'), Kurt Schwitters, Helmuth Weissenborn and Erich Wolfsfeld were selected, in order to support appropriate sub-themes and a range of media and visual interest.
These themes included: the art of internment; post-internment art; contributions to British art schools; representations of the ‘other’ by the ‘other’; and the shaping of the art market and development of graphic design in mid-century Britain.