History is Now — Southbank Centre

LondonPublications

Britain Uncovered

Seven artists take an idiosyncratic look at the highs and lows of Britain's post-war years...

As the UK, wading through the mire of Austerity, prepares to choose between the best of a very bad bunch of self-serving bastards in the forthcoming general election, we could be forgiven for wondering if we deserve to call Great Britain “Great” any more. But it wasn’t always so rubbish here, as a Southbank exhibition and book reminds us through the curatorial eyes of seven leading artists.

Hayley Newman

Hayley Newman
You Blew My Mind, 1998
© the artist
(Part of Hannah Starkey’s curated section)

History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain winds the clock back to 1945, when the world was newly freed from tyranny and the future seemed to be filled with endless possibility, and takes an idiosyncratic tour through the intervening decades to the present day under the guidance of John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth and Jane and Louise Wilson.

The imagery often seeks out the humour in adversity — something the Brits have always excelled at — and doesn’t mind delving into the darker periods to find it; the Cold War, the aftermath of Thatcherite Britain and the BSE health crisis are all topics under consideration, as well as the ever-amusing and sometimes excruciating world of celebrity culture. The exhibition is running at the Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery until 26 April; the book, which includes specially-commissioned writing from the likes of journalists Sheila Dillon and Charlotte Higgins, economist Daniel Fujiwara and novelist and poet Jackie Kay, is available from Hayward Publishing.

@HaywardGallery

History is Now

History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain
Hayward Publishing

Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton,
The State,1993
Tate, London 2014
© The Estate of Richard Hamilton, DACS 2014
(Part of Jane and Louise Wilson’s curated section)

Hannah Starkey

Chris Killip
Youth, Jarrow, 1976
© the artist
(Part of Hannah Starkey’s curated section)

History is Now

History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain
Hayward Publishing

Hannah Starkey

Hipgnosis
Untitled, 1976
© Hipgnosis
Photo: Aubrey Powell
(Part of Hannah Starkey’s curated section)

Victor Burgin

Victor Burgin
Possession, 1976
Gift of the artist 1980 © the artist
(Part of Hannah Starkey’s curated section)

David Chadwick

David Chadwick
A Woman on a Hulme Walkway, Manchester, 1976

Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

(Part of Hannah Starkey’s curated section)

History is Now

History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain
Hayward Publishing

Penny Slinger

Penny Slinger,
Perspective. 1977
Copyright the artist
© the artist
Courtesy Penny Slinger/Riflemaker, London






(Part of Jane and Louise Wilson’s curated section)

Hipgnosis

Hipgnosis
Winkies, 1975
© Hipgnosis.
Photo: Aubrey Powell
(Part of Hannah Starkey’s curated section)

History is Now

History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain
Hayward Publishing

The Hackney Flashers

The Hackney Flashers
Who’s Holding the Baby?, 1978.
© the Estate of Jo Spence. Courtesy Richard Sultoun Gallery
(Part of Hannah Starkey’s curated section)

British Aircraft Corporation

Bristol Bloodhound II, c. 1983
British Aircraft Corporation
Bloodhound Mark 2 Surface-to-Air Missile and Launcher,
Guided Missile, Type 202, c.1965-66
 Courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc

(Part of Richard Wentworth’s curated section)

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