The British Art Show 8 (BAS8) opens to the public at Leeds Art Gallery today. Organised every five years by Hayward Touring, BAS8 launches in Leeds before travelling to Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton. For this unique occasion, Leeds Art Gallery has de-installed almost their entire collection, allowing the curators and the gallery team to completely reinvent the spaces to accommodate this complex multi-media show. The exhibition, curated by Anna Colin and Lydia Yee, contains work by forty-two artists who were chosen after an extensive research period.
Since its founding in 1979, BAS has launched the careers of many talented young artists, providing an unrivalled opportunity for artists to take part in a group exhibition that reaches all corners of the United Kingdom. As a unique survey of Britain’s art scene, organised every five years, the exhibition’s history reads like a catalogue of major developments and influential figures who have changed the direction of the art scene in this country over the past thirty years. As such, it has resonance within the art world and particularly with the artists who are invited to participate.
Highlights include: Post Forma, a major new commission by acclaimed Italian designer Martino Gamper. This participatory work is driven by Gamper’s interest in how objects can be transformed and reused, rather than discarded. Post Forma sees Gamper collaborate closely with Yorkshire artisans; specialists in weaving, bookbinding, cobbling and chair caning, transforming broken objects into unique pieces of craft. Linder’s hand-tufted rug, Diagrams of Love: Marriage of Eyes, is a new commission produced in collaboration with Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. This sculptural work will be activated with a choreographed piece, performed by Northern Ballet, which will travel and evolve with the exhibition. For AMR 733V, Stuart Whipps will work throughout the duration of the touring exhibition with former workers of the Longbridge plant in Birmingham. Together they will gradually restore a Mini built in 1979, a pivotal year in British politics and industry, elements and documentation of which will be exhibited as the projects unfolds. Anthea Hamilton’s new freestanding sculptures which form functioning ant farms. Over the duration of the exhibition, the ants will form a colony within the complex Perspex structures. The new film Feed Me, produced by Film and Video Umbrella, is emerging Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s most ambitious project to date. Feed Meis a delirious confection of multi-layered digital images, the work is part fairytale, part hyper-modern fantasia made even more extravagant by the artist’s trademark multi-character theatrics, which are all played by Maclean herself.
A project by Ahmet Öğüt, with artists Liam Gillick, Susan Hiller, Goshka Macuga. Öğüt, a strong advocate of art as a vehicle for social or political change, presents Day After Debt (UK), a long-term collaborative project tackling student debt. Öğüt has invited Gillick, Hiller and Goshka (all of whom have featured in previous British Art Shows) to design sculptures that function as public donation boxes, ranging from a telescope to a juke box sited across the city. All funds raised will be redistributed through the Jubilee Debt Campaign.
There are also new commissions by: Åbäke, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Caroline Achaintre, John Akomfrah and Trevor Mathison, Pablo Bronstein, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Benedict Drew, Simon Fujiwara, Will Holder, Alan Kane, Yuri Pattison, Ciara Phillips, Laure Prouvost, Magali Reus, Eileen Simpson and Ben White, Daniel Sinsel, Hayley Tompkins and Jessica Warboys.
Alongside UK premieres and little seen works by: Aaron Angell, Andrea Büttner, Alexandre da Cunha, Nicolas Deshayes, Ryan Gander, Melanie Gilligan, Mikhail Karikis, Charlotte Prodger, James Richards, Cally Spooner, Patrick Staff, Imogen Stidworthy, Bedwyr Williams, Jesse Wine and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Leeds: Leeds Art Gallery; 9 October 2015 – 10 January 2016
Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Talbot Rice Gallery, University Of Edinburgh Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: 13 February – 8 May 2016
Norwich: Norwich University of The Arts, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery: 24 June – 4 September 2016
Southampton: John Hansard Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery: 8 October 2016 – 14 January 2017