2021 has arrived and we all hope the new year will run a more positive course than the last. Unfortunately, many UK museums and arts spaces currently remain closed due to Tier 3 and 4 COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of starting 2021 with a look at exhibitions to visit in person, then, here we’ve selected four online shows and platforms that enable you to enjoy great art from the comfort of home.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020
The annual open submission exhibition, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, had been scheduled to return to the South London Gallery (SLG) this month with an exhibition of works by emerging artists filling both its Main Gallery and Fire Station spaces. SLG’s temporary closure – in line with London’s Tier 4 status – means that opening will likely now be delayed, but related digital content can still be enjoyed via the BNC2020 website.
Launched last year in response to the pandemic and developed in dialogue with the artists, the online platform – designed by Hato Press – provides an opportunity to see some of the UK’s most dynamic contemporary art practices. Alongside artists’ images, texts, sounds and moving image work, new content such as workshops, artist blogs and vlogs and other digital projects will be added over the coming months.
Celebrating the breadth of art practices emerging from UK art schools and alternative education programmes, Bloomberg New Contemporaries sets out each year to offer a preview of the next generation of contemporary artists. Participants for the 2020 edition were selected by a guest panel comprising artists Rana Begum, Sonia Boyce and Ben Rivers from a body of over 1,500 applications.
Trulee Hall – Zabludowicz Collection
Following her sold-out operatic performance at Zabludowicz Collection in March 2020, American artist Trulee Hall was the recipient of the organisations Annual Commission. Reappearing tropes populate the resulting exhibition; stylised female nudes with mouths agape, rendered in gold and primary colours; bodies of many ages, genders and sizes relishing their physicality; and often repeated phallic serpents and corncobs.
Hall has transformed the gallery spaces with a series of self-contained, elaborate vignettes – the viewer moves through discordant scenes, each presenting a tangled meta-narrative. The exhibition presents work made over the past two years alongside debut views of Hall’s newly-commissioned project and works from the Collection. A fractured and faceted perspective is created through installations comprising video, sculpture, paintings, composed soundtracks and kinetic mechanisms. These elements work together to create dense environments that invite the visitor to step around, peep through and settle in.
Like the South London Gallery and the rest of London’s art spaces, Zabludowicz Collection is currently closed, but thanks to the digital walkthrough scanned and produced by The Net Gallery the exhibition remains available to experience online.
The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and The Cosmic Tree – Camden Art Centre
The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and The Cosmic Tree was originally conceived as a trans-generational group exhibition, bringing together surrealist, modernist and contemporary works alongside historical and ethnographic artefacts, textiles and manuscripts spanning more than 500 years. Due to the pandemic, Camden Art Centre was forced to close its physical spaces, developing instead an online project, The Botanical Mind Online.
Drawing on indigenous traditions from the Amazon rainforest; alternative perspectives on Western scientific rationalism; and new thinking around plant intelligence, philosophy and cultural theory, The Botanical Mind Online investigates the significance of the plant kingdom to human life, consciousness and spirituality across cultures and through time.
From the monumental power of climate change to the microscopic threat of a virus, humanity’s place in the natural order has in recent years found itself under scrutiny like never before, held in a precarious balance between visible and invisible forces. The most fundamental but misunderstood form of life on our planet, the plant is positioned by this exhibition as a universal symbol found in almost every civilisation and religion across the globe.
British Surrealism Virtual Exhibition – Dulwich Picture Gallery
Digitised exhibitions don’t just offer a way of viewing current exhibitions at home – they can also allow art lovers to experience an exhibition long after the physical show has been packed up and the artworks moved along. This is the case with the British Surrealism exhibition which is no longer running at Dulwich Picture Gallery, but is still available online thanks to the virtual walkthrough scanned and produced by The Net Gallery.
As the walkthrough reveals in immersive detail, the exhibtion provides an ambitious and wide-spanning survey of the origins of surrealist art in Britain, bringing together work by both surrealists and those influenced by the movement. Among the artists featured are Conroy Maddox, Leonora Carrington, Edward Burra, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Ithell Colquhoun, John Armstrong, Paul Nash and Reuben Mednikoff.
Article by Toby Buckley.