Matthew Harle

Matthew Harle is a writer and archivist from London. His most recent books include Can I Come In and Talk About These and Other Ideas and a sourcebook on Penda's Fen, entitled Of Mud & Flame. He works as an Archive Curator at the Barbican Centre, regularly programmes archive film and video exhibitions across London, and is currently writing a polybiographical study of a 1931 public directory of Berlin Jews.

  • Mirror Reflecting Darkly

    Mirror Reflecting Darkly

    The Rita Keegan Archive

    Rita Keegan, Matthew Harle, and Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski

    Documenting the artistic practice of Rita Keegan: from exhibitions at major venues to everyday life as a working Black female artist.

    From the Bronx to Soho to Brixton, Mirror Reflecting Darkly is an exploration of the artist Rita Keegan's archive collection. Part autobiography and part critical history, it reproduces a cross-section of Keegan's archive, mapping an artistic practice that ranges from her exhibitions at such major museums and galleries as the ICA and the Tate to her curatorship of the Women of Colour Index, a groundbreaking 1987 initiative that documented Black and Asian women artists. It includes records of Keegan's journey through different creative environments of London in the 1980s and 1990s, offering rare ephemera drawn from her involvement in the Black British Art movement, covering her years as a fixture of Soho clubland, and documenting the intimate traces of her everyday life as a working Black female artist.

    Accompanying the selections from the archive are essays and personal reflections from a range of writers, academics. and artists—including Keegan herself--which expand upon the themes from the material: networks of creative kinship, the story of British Black Arts, self-archiving, and archiving as activism.

    Contributors

    Barby Asante, Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski, Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd, Janice Cheddie, Lauren Craig, Lucy Davies, Althea Greenan, Joy Gregory, Hiroko Hagiwara, Matthew Harle, Rita Keegan, Shaheen Merali, Naomi Pearce

    • Paperback $24.95
  • Of Mud and Flame

    Of Mud and Flame

    A Penda's Fen Sourcebook

    Matthew Harle and James Machin

    Exploring Penda's Fen, a 1974 BBC film that achieved mythic status.

    In 1974, the BBC broadcast the film Penda's Fen, leaving audiences mystified and spellbound. “Make no mistake. We had a major work of television last night,” The Times declared the next morning. Written by the playwright and classicist David Rudkin, the film follows Stephen, an 18-year-old boy, whose identity, sexuality, and suffocating nationalism unravels through a series of strange visions. After its original broadcast, Penda's Fen vanished into unseen mythic status, with only a single rebroadcast in 1990 sustaining its cult following. With a DVD release by the BFI in 2016, Penda's Fen has now become totemic for those interested in Britain's deep history, folklore, and landscape. Of Mud and Flame brings together writers, artists, and historians to excavate and explore this unique cornerstone of Britain's uncanny archive.

    Contributors includeDavid Rudkin, Sukhdev Sandhu, Roger Luckhurst, Gareth Evan, Adam Scovell, Bethany Whalley, Carl Phelpstead, David Ian Rabey, David Rolinson, Craig Wallace, Daniel O'Donnell Smith, William Fowler, Yvonne Salmon, Andy W. Smith, Carolyne Larrington, John Harle, Timothy J. Jarvis, Tom White, Daniel Eltringham, Joseph Brooker, Gary Budden

    • Paperback $19.95