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History is now: 7 Artists Take On Britain

April 15, 2015 by Mary

‘History is now: 7 Artists Take On Britain’, housed at The Hayward Gallery, is an exhibition offering a radical new way of thinking about how we got to where we are today.


Eduardo Paolozzi, Take-off, 1972 (from original Bunkcollages 1947-52)
© Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation. Licensed by DACS 2015

The Hayward Gallery let seven artists take on the cultural history of the United Kingdom. John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth and Jane and Louise Wilson each curate different sections of the exhibition, looking at particular periods of cultural history. Their varied and curatorial 'takes' on Britain provide new perspectives and illuminate key moments in the nation's journey from the post-war period to the present day.

The artists pursue inventive ways of exploring our recent history, spanning ideas and topics as varied as the Cold War, post-Thatcherite society, protest movements, feminism, BSE, and celebrity culture.

They artists have selected over 250 objects from both public and private art collections as well as everyday artefacts including maps, costumes, newspapers, films, and personal diaries, together with scientific and military displays. Two works from Damien Hirst's iconic series – ‘Natural History’ and the Spot Paintings – are on display as part of Roger Hiorns examination of the BSE epidemic.


‘Out of Sight. Out of Mind.’ (1991) by Damien Hirst
Courtesy of White Cube © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2015

While each section of the exhibition is distinct in both focus and style, taken together, ‘History is now: 7 Artists Take On Britain’ provokes reflection and debate on the events, people, and objects that have shaped the nation in recent decades, so informing our future decisions and directions.

‘History is now: 7 Artists Take On Britain’ is co-curated by Dr Cliff Lauson, Hayward Gallery Curator.

This exhibition will be running until April 26th.