In The Days Of The Comet
5th March 2011
The British Art Show is organised by Hayward touring and takes place every five years touring to four different cities across the UK; widely recognised as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British art.
|Milena Dragicevic's Supplicant 77, 2008|
Curator's of the British Art Show, Lisa Le Feuvre & Tom Morton have chosen a subtitle of the seventh British Art Show taken from H.G. Wells's 1906 novel In the Days of the Comet. "The British socialist and science-fiction writer 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." Thesignificance of the novel's title is that the ‘days' to which it refers are not only "those of an enforced Utopian transformation, but the whole of recorded history. The comet's recurrent nature, and its orbiting of the same sun as the Earth, draws together the past, present and perhaps even the future too."
Visiting on a Saturday Afternoon was probably a bad choice to make, being (luckily) the last person to get a ticket in the show. On entering you come face to face with another of Charles Avery's impressive installments from his imaginary utopia, a parallel universe and all its' inhabitants. A huge Glass Box, encasing a scene from the desert, with the hunter's sweetheart being spied on by a one armed snake.
The Exhibition doesn't focus in on one particular theme, which allowed for almost every discipline to be covered: huge wall drawings, installations, painting, sculpture and hours upon hours of film and video as well as performance.
I particularly enyjoyed Spartacus Chetwynd's temporal "The Folding House" 2010; with its rickety scaffolding and high platform towering above her neighbouring lunette windows on wheels, both works composed of old windowpanes and other discarded objects, they nod towards the reference of modernist architecture in her work made specifically for this years exhibition.