British Art Show 7: In The Days of the Comet

Alasdair Gray, Andrew Gray Aged 7 and Inge’s Patchwork Quilt, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow. Photo: Ruth Clark
Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 155, 2010. Inkjet print. 258 x 462cm (detail). Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley, London
  • Alasdair Gray, Andrew Gray Aged 7 and Inge’s Patchwork Quilt, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow. Photo: Ruth Clark
  • Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 155, 2010. Inkjet print. 258 x 462cm (detail). Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley, London

The British Art Show is held every five years, presenting new and recent works by contemporary artists based in Britain. This major exhibition is a unique opportunity for an overview of the concerns of art today. A Hayward Touring Exhibition, it is opening for the first time in Nottingham and will be shown in three venues – Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange and Nottingham Castle.

British Art Show 7 pays particular attention to the ways that artists use history to illuminate the present. Thirty-nine artists have been invited for their significant contribution to British (and often international) art since 2005. More than half of the selected artists are showing new works, including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, video, film and performance.

British Art Show 7 is subtitled In the Days of the Comet. Comets have long been held to herald change. Halley’s comet appeared in 1066, the year of the Norman invasion. H.G Wells’ novel In the Days of the Comet is set in 1910, the date of another appearance y Halley. Wells imagines a comet which releases a green gas that creates a great change, turning humans away from war and exploitation and towards rational understanding and a heightened appreciation of beauty. The comet was last visible in 1986, the year of the deregulation of British banking, known as Margaret Thatcher’s Big Bang. British Art Show 7 highlights how artists today explore historical episodes that shape our experience of the present and anticipation of the future.

British Art Show 7 will be shown in Nottingham, London, Glasgow and Plymouth. It is intended to be viewed as one exhibition across the three Nottingham venues.

British Art Show 7: In The Days of the Comet, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2011. Photography by Alexander Newton.
British Art Show 7: In The Days of the Comet, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2011. Photography by Alexander Newton.
British Art Show 7: In The Days of the Comet, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2011. Photography by Alexander Newton.
British Art Show 7: In The Days of the Comet, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2011. Photography by Alexander Newton.
British Art Show 7: In The Days of the Comet, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2011. Photography by Alexander Newton.

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