Punk poet Robert Montgomery on why we should be idealists

Niall Flynn, Dazed Digital, October 25, 2017

Back in March, Robert Montgomery unveiled Hammersmith Poem, an extraordinary, public-facing installation set across the iconic brutalism of Hammersmith Town Hall. Clocking in at six metres tall, it was both a sprawling ode and impassioned rallying cry, dedicated to a school of civic values he felt that the world had stopped believing in: Modernism.

 

Building on the aforementioned, the Scottish artist and punk poet (best known for his monumental billboard works) has announced a major new exhibition, aptly titled Hammersmith Poem and Love Letters to Kazmir Malevich. Taking the text from the eponymous former work, the show – running at the Cob Gallery from October 27 – overlays Montgomery’s words on “ghost outlines” of a number of Malevich paintings; words, dedicated to a reconceptualising of the Modernist’s dream.

 

“Basically, I think this is a moment where we have to re-evaluate what Modernism really was,” he explains, speaking from a Parisian cafe over a crackly phone line. “We think of it as a style of painting, or architecture – or just a style. But, when you look at it historically, Modernism is really a social project – a social movement. I think that’s the bit that we’ve lost sight of.”