Always Greener: Views from the contemporary countryside


An exploration of the reality that exists behind dreams of ‘a place in the country’ opens this week in West London.

Always Greener: Views from the Contemporary Countryside uses painting, drawing, photography, video and sculptural installation to examine modern ideas and preconceptions about the countryside.

It is showing at the extension to Pitzhanger Manor, Sir John Soane’s own rural weekend retreat, at one time set amongst the fields and orchards of Ealing.

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The exhibition examines how the prevailing notions of the idyllic countryside - the peace, fresh air, health, natural beauty and escape from the pressures of modern life - can be upturned and contradicted by the reality of country living.

For many, the countryside exists as a fantasy constructed from fleeting views through car windows, or from holidays, films and TV programmes. In cities, particular views and suggestions of the countryside are encountered every day, perhaps in the promotion of free-range or organic food or in all sorts of idealised advertising images of consumer products, which equate the countryside with nature and goodness.

The works presented give an honest and at times unsettling view of the reality of country living which counter the prevailing orthodoxy of the grass always being greener in the countryside.

From 4 May to 24 June,