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Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 155, 2010. Inkjet print. 258 x 462cm (detail). Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley, London © Wolfgang Tillmans

Wolfgang Tillmans, Freischwimmer 155, 2010. Inkjet print. 258 x 462cm (detail). Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley, London ©

Art - Exhibitions

British Art Show 7

In The Days of the Comet

23 Oct 2010 - 09 Jan 2011

Artists at Nottingham Contemporary Charles Avery, Karla Black, Matthew Darbyshire, Alasdair Gray, Brian Griffiths, Roger Hiorns, Ian Kiaer, Simon Martin, Tris Vonna-Michell, Haroon Mirza, Karin Ruggaber, Maaike Schoorel, Edgar Schmitz, George Shaw, Wolfgang Tillmans, Phoebe Unwin, Emily Wardill. Performances by Tris Vonna-Michell, Olivia Plender and a film screening by Otolith Group.

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 by 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. Entrance to the exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary and New Art Exchange is free. At Nottingham Castle entrance is free, too, with a passport that has been stamped at the other two venues. (The passport is on the back of a special British Art Show 7 leaflet, available at the venues and throughout Nottingham). The Castle is a short walk from us, while New Art Exchange is just under 10 minutes by tram.

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