May 22, 2010 - British Art Show - In the Days of the Comet
May 22, 2010

In the Days of the Comet

Alasdair Gray
May in White Bodice, 2010
Courtesy the artist and Sorcha Dallas

In the Days of the Comet

Nottingham:
Nottingham Contemporary; Nottingham Castle Museum;
New Art Exchange
23 October 2010 – 9 January 2011
London:
Hayward Gallery
14 February – 17 April 2011
Glasgow:
Centre for Contemporary Art; Gallery of Modern Art; Tramway
28 May – 21 August 2011
Plymouth:
Peninsula Arts, Plymouth Arts Centre; Plymouth City Museum and
Art Gallery; Royal William Yard
17 September – 4 Dec 2011

www.haywardgallery.org.uk

The British Art Show is widely recognised as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British art. Organised by Hayward Touring, it takes place every five years and tours to four different cities across the UK. The exhibition opens this October in Nottingham, and tours to the Hayward Gallery, London, followed by venues in Glasgow and Plymouth. This seventh incarnation is curated by Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton.

British Art Show 7 looks to art made in the period 2005-2010, paying particular attention to the ways that artists deploy histories—be these distant or proximate, longingly imagined or all too real—to illuminate our present moment. The 39 selected artists have been chosen on the grounds of their significant contribution to 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.

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. While current scientific theory posits that comets are nothing more than elliptically orbiting clumps of dust, ice and gas, utterly indifferent to our affairs, they remain powerful reminders of the way in which our species has attempted to understand experience through the measuring of time, the writing of history, the inference of cosmological influence and the notion of a deterministic universe. Here the comet alludes to the measuring of time, to historical recurrence, and to parallel worlds.

Comets have long been identified as harbingers of change. In his 1906 novel In the Days of the Comet (set a century ago in 1910, the date of the last-but-one sighting of Halley’s Comet) the British socialist and science fiction writer HG Wells imagines the appearance of a comet over the United Kingdom which releases a green gas that creates a ‘Great Change’ in all mankind, turning it away from war and exploitation and towards rationalism and a heightened appreciation of beauty. Notably, this shift in understanding is achieved not through human agency, but through an ineffable alien force.

The selected artists 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 and Keith Wilson.

VENUES AND DATES
NOTTINGHAM: Nottingham Contemporary; Nottingham Castle Museum; New Art Exchange 23 October 2010 – 9 January 2011

LONDON: Hayward Gallery
14 February – 17 April 2011

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

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

Lisa Le Feuvre is a curator and writer based in London. She teaches on the postgraduate Curatorial Programme in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. Between 2005 and 2009 she directed the contemporary art programme at the National Maritime Museum, curating the exhibitions Dan Holdsworth: At the Edge of Space, Parts 1- 3; Lawrence Weiner: Inherent in the Rhumb Line; Esther Shalev-Gerz: Echoes in Memory; Simon Patterson: the Undersea World and Other Stories, Renée Green: Endless Dreams and the Water Between and Jeremy Millar: Given. Le Feuvre’s other curatorial projects have been staged in spaces across the UK, including the CCA, Glasgow; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; MOT, London; Stills, Edinburgh; and Arts Council England; working with artists including Gordon Matta-Clark, Dennis Oppenheim, Alexander & Susan Maris and Joachim Koester. Le Feuvre regularly contributes to journals, publications and exhibition catalogues, with her edited publication Failure published by Whitechapel Art Gallery/MIT Press in 2010.

Tom Morton is a curator and writer living in London, UK. He is currently a curator at the Hayward Gallery, London, where he has recently organised exhibitions by Cyprien Gaillard, Matthew Darbyshire, and group show Deceitful Moon. He was previously curator of Cubitt Gallery, London, where he organised exhibitions by Charles Avery, Matthew Day Jackson, and Annika Eriksson, among others. He curated the exhibition How to Endure for the 2007 Athens Biennale, and was co-curator of the 2008 Busan Biennale, South Korea. Morton has been Contributing Editor of frieze magazine since 2003, and also writes regularly for Bidoun and Metropolis M. He is the author of numerous exhibition catalogues essays, on artists including Roger Hiorns, Erik van Lieshout, Pierre Huyghe, Glenn Brown, Andro Wekua and Victor Man

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