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Ruth Beale's work at Trade is concerned with the aesthetic and intellectual outputs of groups, specifically the intersection between political and social arrangements and how everyday culture is archived and historicised. The exhibition is the result of a year's research into various groups' activities. 

Taking a speculative position, the exhibition draws together various seemingly unconnected threads: Palaeolithic art from Creswell Crags in North Nottinghamshire, one man's recollections of Nottingham’s music scene in the 70s and 80s; the socialist roots of the Clarion Cycling Club; and the raves, graphics and music produced by the Spiral Tribe collective in the early 90s.

Visual material, texts and interviews are presented across the gallery's four rooms in drawings, prints and videos that distill and highlight shared elements. A series of events, to be announced as the exhibition unfolds, will address the leap from individual motivation to group behaviour.

Major recent exhibitions include ‘Bookbed’, 2013, Peckham Platform (London), ‘Performing Keywords’, 2012, shown at Turner Contemporary (Margate) and Het Veem Theatre (Amsterdam), ‘The Voyage of Nonusch’, 2010, a film commission for Whitstable Biennale made whilst artist-in-residence at the BFI (in collaboration with Karen Mirza), and ‘Now from Now’, 2011, an installation and performance exhibited at Cell (London), Government Art Collection (London) and Basel Kunsthalle. Other exhibitions and performances include Whitechapel Gallery (London), ICA (London), Talbot Rice Gallery (Edinburgh), Kusthal Charlottenborg (Copenhagen), Jerwood Space (London), LGP (Coventry), David Roberts Art Foundation (London) and Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridgeshire). 

Ruth Beale is currently working on ‘The Alternative School of Economics’, a collaboration with artist Amy Feneck and the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, ‘Performance as Publishing’, an artist-led project exploring the use of text in contemporary art. 

Groups and Things


Ruth Beale - Bikes, Caves, Raves


Ruth Beale - Bikes, Caves, Raves   ​
Ruth Beale - Clarion Cycle Club
Installation View - Ruth Beale Trade Gallery
Ruth Beale - Spiral Tribe Logo

An afternoon symposium on creativity, collectivity and historicisation within group culture.19th July 2014


Using Ruth Beale's exhibition at Trade as a starting point, the symposium will bring together six speakers from a number of different fields, including a musician, a historian, an archaeologist, and a curator.


By describing their areas of expertise, the speakers will draw out threads present in the show. The day will pull together and provoke discussion around the historicisation of various groups' activities, and expand upon ideas of interconnectedness between work, leisure, politics, escapism, mark-making and the shaping of landscape.


Matt Beresford, archaeologist and educator

Wayne Evans, musician

Chris Matthews, historian and designer

Gillian Whiteley, artist-curator and academic

Fatos Ustek, curator

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