February 26, 2011 - British Art Show - In the Days of the Comet
February 26, 2011

In the Days of the Comet

In the Days of the Comet
16 February–17 April 2011

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

www.britishartshow.co.uk

The British Art Show is widely recognised as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British art. Following British Art Show 7′s critically acclaimed debut in Nottingham (where it attracted 114,000 visitors) the exhibition arrives at the Hayward Gallery, the first time it has been presented in London for 21 years. Organised by Hayward Touring exhibitions since 1979, the British Art Show takes place every five years and tours to four different cities across the UK. After the Hayward Gallery it travels to venues in Glasgow and Plymouth.

Curators Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton selected the 39 artists on the grounds of their significant contribution to international contemporary art in the last five years. All artworks included have been produced since 2005 and encompass sculpture, painting, installation, drawing, photography, film, video and performance, with many artists creating new works especially for the exhibition, several of which will premiere at the Hayward Gallery.

Subtitled In the Days of the Comet, British Art Show 7 employs the motif of the comet to explore and draw together a set of concerns that thread their way through the practices of the selected artists. Here the comet alludes to the measuring of time, to historical recurrence, and to parallel worlds. Comets are also commonly understood as harbingers of change, and fittingly the exhibition is designed to evolve, revealing new works at different venues and creating a unique exhibition in each of the four host cities. Whilst shown across venues at Nottingham, Glasgow and Plymouth, the Hayward Gallery unites the exhibition under one roof.

For the exhibition’s presentation at the Hayward Gallery the curators have added major new works by Charles Avery, Steven Claydon, Roger Hiorns, Anja Kirchner & David Panos, and Keith Wilson, and will reveal the next stages of evolving projects by Nathaniel Mellors, Olivia Plender, and Tris Vonna-Michell, and enhanced presentations of the works of Varda Caivano, Maaike Schoorel and Phoebe Unwin.

At randomly chosen moments visitors to the exhibition may have a chance to encounter a naked male tending a fire on a bench in Roger HiornsUntitled (2005-10). The exhibition includes Christian Marclay‘s cinematic collage and working timepiece The Clock (2010); Sarah Lucas‘ biomorphic sculpture series NUDS (2009-10); George Shaw‘s hallucinatory paintings of West Midlands council estates; Elizabeth Price‘s seductive and unsettling film User Group Disco (2009) set to an 80′s soundtrack; Maaike Schoorel‘s atmospheric paintings; Matthew Darbyshire‘s exploration into taste and display in An Exhibition for Modern Living (2010) and Duncan Campbell‘s examination of the public persona of Britain’s youngest ever woman MP, Bernadette Devlin in Bernadette (2008).

Works being presented for the first time at the Hayward Gallery include a specially commissioned bell by Steven Claydon, cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which will chime 21 times a day; a new outdoor installation by Keith Wilson, a new film The Empty Plan by Anja Kirschner & David Panos; a new chapter in Charles Avery‘s epic island-fiction in the shape of large scale drawing Untitled (View of the Port at Onomatopoeia); a new episode from Nathaniel Mellors‘ Monty Python-meets-Pasolini ‘soap opera’, Ourhouse and a large canvas bear’s body by Brian Griffiths—the head of which was shown at Nottingham.

Central to the exhibition is a series of performances, screenings and events programmed by the exhibition curators, Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton, for venues in each of the host cities. The curated programme for the Hayward Gallery includes performances by Juliette Blightman, Spartacus Chetwynd, Steven Claydon, Gail Pickering, Olivia Plender and Sue Tompkins, screenings of works by Luke Fowler, The Otolith Group and a special 24-hour screening of Christian Marclay‘s The Clock. In addition, the Hayward Gallery has programmed a series talks by artists featuring Roger Hiorns, Nathaniel Mellors, Mick Peter, Elizabeth Price and George Shaw.

British Art Show Curators, Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton said:
“British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet is an exhibition that captures the art being made in Britain today. The exhibition seeks to reinvent, reinvigorate and constantly question itself as it travels across the country. This exhibition of 39 artists presents art made in the period 2005 to 2011, underlining contemporary art as a responsive and generative activity that reverberates helps to inform the ways in which we understand our place in the world.”

Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery, said:
“The contemporary art scene in Britain is amongst the most dynamic and diverse in the world. This show provides a fascinating exploration of many of the highlights from the past five years of art-making in Britain, including work by three generations of artists. It has been 21 years since the British Art Show was last presented at the Hayward Gallery, and I’m delighted that London audiences will once again have the opportunity to see this important exhibition.”

The artists in British Art Show 7 are:

Charles Avery
Karla Black
Becky Beasley
Juliette Blightman
Duncan Campbell
Varda Caivano
Spartacus Chetwynd
Steven Claydon
Cullinan Richards
Matthew Darbyshire
Milena Dragicevic
Luke Fowler
Michael Fullerton
Alasdair Gray
Brian Griffiths
Roger Hiorns
Ian Kiaer
Anja Kirschner & David Panos
Sarah Lucas
Christian Marclay
Simon Martin
Nathaniel Mellors
Haroon Mirza
David Noonan
The Otolith Group
Mick Peter
Gail Pickering
Olivia Plender
Elizabeth Price
Karin Ruggaber
Edgar Schmitz
Maaike Schoorel
George Shaw
Wolfgang Tillmans
Sue Tompkins
Phoebe Unwin
Tris Vonna-Michell
Emily Wardill
Keith Wilson

Since its beginning in 1979, over 1.1 million visitors have enjoyed the six previous British Art Shows in cities all around the country including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton. The list of previous exhibitors reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of British Art – including Lucien Freud, Gilbert and George, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Paula Rego, Susan Hiller, Mary Kelly, Tracey Emin, Sam Taylor-Wood and Grayson Perry—many of whom were shown long before they became household names.

A fully illustrated catalogue is available to accompany the exhibition, with essays by the curators on the themes explored and entries on each exhibiting artist. ISBN: 978-1-85332-286-0

Listings Information
British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet
, a Hayward Touring Exhibition from Southbank Centre opens on 16 February 2011 and runs until 17 April 2011 at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Information and tickets: 0844 847 9910 www.britishartshow.co.uk

Tour details
GLASGOW: Centre for Contemporary Art; Gallery of Modern Art; Tramway
28 May–21 August 2011

PLYMOUTH: Peninsula Arts Gallery, University of Plymouth; Plymouth College of Art; Plymouth Arts Centre; Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery; The Slaughterhouse, Royal William Yard; Plymouth College of Art
17 September–4 Dec 2011

For further PRESS information please contact Sarah Ragsdale on 020 7921 0887 sarah.ragsdale@southbankcentre.co.uk or Helena Zedig on 020 7921 0847 helena.zedig@southbankcentre.co.uk

To register for high-resolution images from Southbank Centre’s online press image service
please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk/about-us/press/press-images

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