G A V I N    W A D E


A – Z    D I S P L A Y    U N I T S

(After Kiesler & Krischanitz)






Art Rotterdam, Netherlands




is for 


Frans Hals Museum, Netherlands




is for 


Narrative Projects, London

(2017) with Rachel Lowe



is for 


Art House, Worcester




is for 


Display Units


Art is not exhibited, art exhibits.


Display is an elementary social gesture: I show something to you and to the world.


Display is intrinsic to artistic production and interpretation. It is the process of taking shape that defines our experience of art. Art is the exhibition.


This brief exposition shows works and documentation of Gavin Wade’s ongoing ‘A–Z Display Units (After Kiesler & Krischanitz)’ 2015–2019.





Stroom Den Haag, Netherlands


Display Show



Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin



Eastside Projects, Birmingham


As an artist-curator Wade uses the form of exhibition as his key methodology. Within this form he invites collaboration and applies systems of curating, sculpture, architecture, drawing, performance, poetry, prose and publishing to explore, propose and resolve his artworks and broader research.



In 2015 Wade proposed to develop an A–Z alphabet of display units upcycled from the artist and architect Frederick Kiesler’s ‘L and T–Type Display Units’, made in Vienna in 1924, as an exemplar of the power of display, and of the avant-garde’s radical ideas of space and social transformation. Re-enactments of these two display units are made by borrowing from Adolf Krischanitz’s ‘Secession Mobile Wall System’ of 1986 – an elegant and inventive update to Vienna Secession, the oldest artist run space. Wade’s conflation of the two systems is intended to breed a new display alphabet of model positions for exhibiting.



exhibition guide

Display Show

Stroom Den Haag


‘Display Show’ (2015-2016) initiated the series with the construction of new T and Z–Type Display Units. These were followed by a series of generative projects exploring the use of each display unit and the authoring of new letter types in the alphabet: ‘Z is for Zero’ (2016); ‘Z is for Zoo’ (2017); a new A–Type for ‘A is for Analogue’ (2017); and a new P–Type for ‘P is for Portrait’ (2019).


Wade’s performative writings were compiled for his ‘Upcycle This Book’ (2017, Book Works, London) which also include proposals for other letter types in the alphabet.


Wade’s practise operates across galleries, museums, art fairs and a range of non-art sites, and he also is the founder and Director of Eastside Projects in Birmingham. He is in a unique position where his experiments and findings are used on a daily basis as a set of artworks embedded in, reliant upon, and transformative of conditions of the display as explicit attributes of functionality and human experience.

The book collects for the first time the writings of Gavin Wade and explores a practice that he refers to as upcycling, a process of stealing, copying, recycling, using other texts and artworks, and responding to existing conditions ... Some of the texts are artworks--manifestoes, stories, statements--others are interviews, discussions, proposals ... James Langdon has designed the book, using 'square span'--a typographic structure conceived by Herbert Bayer to represent sentences spatially, using 'thought groups' of two or three short lines. The advantages of grouping words support the theory that we do not read individual letters, but words or phrases. The texts are written in a responsive way, most often from a prompt or invitation from another person or sometimes an existing condition in need of response. They are written to become a part of the conditions, to mirror them, to act them out, rehearse and change them. Often the words are a script to be performed. It's useful to read words out loud in public. Some engage directly with the artistic community and political economy of Birmingham city. Others, explore issues that effect project spaces, curating and artists' practice internationally. The book reflects 20 years of collaborative experience. It's a book to be read and used"--Kickstarter.com project page, October 17, 2018.

Upcycle This Book



ISBN  978-1-906012-79-3