In celebration of its 30th anniversary, London Art Fair has partnered with Art UK to stage a unique exhibition highlighting 30 remarkable works from the nation’s public art collections.
As the Fair’s official 2018 Museum Partner, Art UK will present its first ever exhibition - ‘Art of the Nation: Five Artists Choose’ - from 17 - 21 January 2018. Reflecting the mission of the charity and its digital platform - the show will shine a spotlight on the rich and diverse regional collections showcased on artuk.org , the online home to every public art collection in the UK, which features over 200,000 artworks from over 3,250 venues.
In an exhibition curated by Kathleen Soriano, Art UK has invited five leading contemporary artists to each select 20th and 21st century works from the Art UK online platform. Each artist has chosen up to six works within a theme that is both personal and speaks to their individual interests. The works selected will come from some twenty-five collections across the UK including Rugby Art Gallery and Museum Collections; New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge; Heritage Motor Centre, Warwickshire; South Shields Museum and Art Gallery and the University of Hull Art Collection.
In his selection, Oscar Murillo has taken inspiration from a Palestinian poem, selecting works which include Jets by Robert Priseman (1965, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum), a part of the artist’s series ‘The Promised Land’ which examines the conflict in Palestine from both sides. Sonia Boyce has based her selection upon a particular work of art, playing with its title, its form and its meaning in making her additional choices. Amongst her choice of works is West Indian (1973) by Caribbean artist, Winston Branch from the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum collection. Meanwhile, Rose Wylie has focussed on the idea of ‘leaving the door open’, challenging the canon and shared systems of value that place artists on the outside of the art world.
Mat Collishaw takes a dark look at the shady world of violence and despair, his selection of works including Ars longa, vita brevis (1900) - ‘ art is long; life is short’ - depicting an aging artist, by realist painter Ralph Hedley in the collection of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums . Finally, Haroon Mirza makes a commentary on choice itself by surrendering his own to the daily shifting algorithms used in Google searches, revelling in the notion of choice as predetermined by a machine that only recognises it in a mathematical and non-emotional way. Amongst his choices is Girl Reading (1933) by British painter Adrian Paul Allinson from the University of Hull Art Collection.
Alongside a diverse range of works, the exhibition will also include pieces from Art Detective, a digital network which invites experts and the general public to help Britain’s galleries understand more about their artworks, helping to highlight unidentified works, sitters, places, events and unknown artists. During London Art Fair, visitors will be invited to discuss a number of mystery works in the hope of uncovering further exciting finds.
The exhibition’s focus on 20th and 21st century artworks reflects London Art Fair’s long-standing commitment to showcasing exceptional art from the 20th century to today. In 2018, London Art Fair returns for its 30t h anniversary inviting collectors and visitors to discover works by renowned artists from around the globe.
First introduced in 2014 in order to showcase important regional collections; London Art Fair’s annual Museum Partnership has seen collaborations with the Hepworth Wakefield, Pallant House Gallery, Jerwood Gallery and The Lightbox. Art UK is the first Museum Partner working almost exclusively in the digital space.