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Towner presents major UK premiere of international contemporary art

Posted on Wednesday, 11 July by

New Towner exhibition of world-class contemporary art opening this weekend explores ‘the edge in landscape’ – between different environments, natural or constructed frontiers, or social and political boundaries – and the journeys or endeavours by which such ‘edges’ are transgressed.

The exhibition comprises recent purchases for the Towner Collection, acquired through Art Fund International, which will be unveiled for the first time – including two pieces by Yael Bartana and João Penalva which have never before been shown in the UK.

The theme was inspired by Towner’s position at the end of the UK and the edge of the South Downs National Park, where the white cliffs of Beachy Head form a sudden and heart stopping edge to the land.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “We’re very pleased to have helped Towner acquire these important works through Art Fund International, and greatly admire the gallery’s ambition to bring the latest developments in contemporary art around the world to the people of the South East.”

Yael Bartana’s two-channel video installation Summer Camp (2007) is shown within a structure derived from the Assembly Hall in which propaganda films and lectures were presented in Israel’s early years. Previously shown at documenta 12, MoMA PS1 in New York and in Israel, and winner of the Artes Mundi 2010, the work is presented in the UK for the first time.

Mario Garcia Torres’ 16mm film My Westphalia Days (2008) reconstructs an intriguing moment in conceptual art history. Conceptual artist Michael Asher has presented a commonplace caravan as an artwork at the Sculpture Project Munster since its inception in 1977, but in 2007, the caravan mysteriously disappeared before being discovered four days later on the outskirts of the city, bearing no traces of its abduction. Garcia Torres’s fragmentary, open-ended road movie proposes a fiction around these missing days.

Cartier Award winner João Penalva‘s video projection The Roar Of The Lions (2007) was filmed in Berlin during the long, cold winter of 2005 at the frozen lake Grunewaldsee, a location with Holocaust associations. Known as Dog Lake, it is now a popular leisure and dog walking spot for the local affluent population, and the sound of barking resonates throughout the piece. Though the scene appears familiar, the divergent narrative leads us to visualise images of other places, people and sounds, and question how little it takes for all that seems familiar and safe to become unknown and menacing.

Entry is free and the exhibition runs from 13 July – 30 September.

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.


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