The British Art Show 9 is the ninth edition of this touring exhibition. It takes place every 5 years, since 1979 and the British Art Show is Hayward Gallery’s landmark exhibition. It is recognised as the most important and ambitious recurrent exhibition of contemporary art produced in the UK.
British Art Show 9 takes a critical look at art produced in Britain, from 2015 up to the present moment, a period that begins with Britain voting to leave the European Union and closes with the still unfolding Covid-19 pandemic. The exhibition was shaped after meeting with over 230 artists in 23 cities in the UK and beyond.
There are 47 contemporary artists taking part in total and a selection of these artists are chosen for each of the four city locations.
Touring Exhibition Locations
The cities showcasing the British Art Show 9 are :
Aberdeen Art Gallery, which ran from 10 July – 10 October 2021.
Wolverhampton Art Gallery and University of Wolverhampton School of Art from 22 Jan – 10 April 2022, across the two venues there will be 34 artists presented.
Manchester – Castlefield Gallery, HOME, Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth from 13 May – 14 Sep 2022
Plymouth – KARST, MIRROR (Plymouth College of Art), The Box, The Levinsky Gallery from 8 Oct – 23 Dec 2022
Themes being Showcased
British Art Show 9 is curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar, and showcases the multidisciplinary work of 47 contemporary artists. The exhibition reflects a precarious moment in Britain’s history, which has brought politics of identity and nation, concerns of social, racial and environmental justice, and questions of agency to the centre of public consciousness. The artists response to this complex context is to imagine new futures, propose alternative economies, explore new modes of resistance and find ways of living together. They explore this through film, photography, painting, sculpture and performance and through projects that relate to more than one category.
BAS9 is structured around three main themes – Healing, Care and Reparative History; Tactics for Togetherness; Imagining New Futures – and has been conceived as a cumulative experience, adapting and changing for each city, and presenting different combinations of artists and artworks that respond to their distinctive local contexts.
In Wolverhampton, the exhibition will focus on how we live with and give voice to difference, showcasing 34 artists whose works investigate identity from an intersectional perspective. By exploring coexisting identities such as class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, these works will be presented in critical dialogue with Wolverhampton’s cultural history which has been shaped by the diverse populations that came to work and live there during the post-war period. Wolverhampton Art Gallery houses one of the most significant collections of art on the Troubles outside Northern Ireland. It also collects works linked to the British Black Arts movement which has roots at the Wolverhampton School of Art where many of its members studied. As part of the BAS9 exhibition there will be a display of works from Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s Collection.
Artists at Wolverhampton
There are 34 artists participating in the exhibition at Wolverhampton and they are:
Hurvin Anderson, Michael Armitage, Simeon Barclay, Oliver Beer, James Bridle, Helen Cammock, Jamie Crewe, Oona Doherty, Sean Edwards, Mandy El-Sayegh, Mark Essen, GAIKA, Beatrice Gibson, Patrick Goddard, Andy Holden, Lawrence Lek, Paul Maheke, Elaine Mitchener, Oscar Murillo, Grace Ndiritu, Uriel Orlow, Hardeep Pandhal, Hetain Patel, Florence Peake, Joanna Piotrowska, Abigail Reynolds, Margaret Salmon, Hrair Sarkissian, Marianna Simnett, Sin Wai Kin fka Victoria Sin, Hanna Tuulikki, Caroline Walker, Alberta Whittle, Rehana Zaman
Highlights of Wolverhampton Exhibits
Selected highlights of BAS9 Wolverhampton include:
Works from Hurvin Anderson’s barbershop series – including a new painting Dixie Peach (2020) – will be presented at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Anderson’s vibrant paintings explore his relationship to both cultures.
Helen Cammock’s new multimedia installation Changing Room II (2021) and elegiac film Changing Room (2014) reflect on her late father – who was an art teacher, magistrate and amateur ceramicist – and his experiences of living in Wolverhampton in the 1960s and 70s. This work is made possible through Art Fund support and will be acquired into the collection of Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Oona Doherty’s dance work Hope Hunt & The Ascension into Lazarus (2015-ongoing) – created after learning that Northern Ireland had the highest rate of young male suicides in Europe – has been performed in youth detention centres and prisons as well as theatres, and will be configured as a street performance in Wolverhampton on Saturday 9 April 2022 at the Light House.
Mandy El-Sayegh presents a new immersive installation blank verse blanket man (2022) at Wolverhampton School of Art, incorporating a new sound composition, paintings from her Net-Grid series and walls covered in local Wolverhampton newspapers to create an environment of sensory overload through imagery and a mesmerising soundtrack.
Mark Essen has created a pilot programme for an ‘experimental art school’ within the setting of Wolverhampton School of Art, working with students from Thomas Telford to create and furnish a workshop space and begin a collective exploration of what an art school could be. School of the Underkraft (2021-22) is made possible with support from Arts Council England Project Grant for National Activities.
A new audio-visual installation, ZEMEL (2022), from experimental rapper, producer, writer, visual and performance artist GAIKA draws on his Caribbean heritage, sound system culture and is a shrine to his late uncle and other Windrush-generation deportees.
The exhibition includes a programme of artist films and a dedicated website which enables artists, especially those not presented in Wolverhampton, to share works online. A schedule of events and activities for visitors of all ages, both in person and online, will extend the reach of British Art Show 9 throughout the city and across the Midlands region and its surrounding counties.
Information on Times and Events
For more information on the British Art Show 9 in Wolverhampton and the schedule of events available click here. The exhibition runs until 10th April 2022.
Mon – Sat: 10.30am – 4.30pm, Sun: 11am – 4pm
Mon – Sat: 10.30am – 4.30pm, Sun: 11am – 4pm
Curators of British Art Show 9
Hammad Nasar and Irene Aristizábal, Curators of British Art Show 9, said: “We are thrilled to present the second iteration of BAS9 in Wolverhampton, where we focus on an intersectional approach to living with difference. Our approach foregrounds the contemporary resonance of the Black Lives Matter protests with the historic context of Enoch Powell’s infamous and divisive ‘rivers of blood’ speech (1968), made during his tenure as Wolverhampton South West’s Conservative MP. We see BAS9’s presentation in critical dialogue with Wolverhampton’s cultural history. This is reflected in concrete form through a ‘capsule’ exhibition of a selection of works from Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s permanent collection, presented as part of BAS9”.
Brian Cass, Senior Curator, Hayward Gallery Touring, said: “We are delighted to be working with Wolverhampton Art Gallery and University of Wolverhampton School of Art on British Art Show 9. The collections and histories of these two iconic institutions provides an important context for BAS9. We hope the extraordinary range and variety of outstanding work in BAS9 will give everyone who lives and visits Wolverhampton an opportunity to engage with the most exciting contemporary art being produced in the UK today.”
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication published by Hayward Gallery Publishing which includes two wide-ranging curatorial essays, over 200 colour illustrations and original texts on all 47 artists.
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