YBAs: the next generation on show

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The line-up of the prestigious British Art Show 7 is revealed today by 'The Independent', write Arifa Akbar and Jonathan Brown

The British Art Show may be held just once every five years, but it is one of the most significant events in this country's cultural life.

In 1995, for instance, it showcased talents such as Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and Sam Taylor-Wood at a time when London was the blazing core of the art world. And in recent years it has been a reasonable bet that those who join the Hayward Gallery's nationwide tour of the best and the brightest are among the hottest emerging stars to watch out for.

The last time the popular travelling exhibition toured the country in 2005, it included work from all four nominated artists on that year's Turner Prize list; two other artists in that show – Zarina Bhimji and Nathan Coley – featured on last year's Turner Prize list.

The selection of names for the British Art Show 7 is revealed today by The Independent. The exhibition, which will start touring the country in October, will provide Britain's best emerging artistic talent the opportunity to be seen by thousands.

What makes it special for the art fan is that in the normal course of the art world, the privilege of witnessing such cutting-edge work is usually restricted to those who have an eye - or a wallet - like Charles Saatchi's.

This year's British Art S how, which takes its subtitle from HG Wells's utopian novel In the Days of the Comet, will unleash 39 artists and artist groups on the public in major exhibitions in four cities across the country.

The work will travel from Nottingham to London, Glasgow and Plymouth and it is expected that more than 300,000 visitors will attend over the year-long duration of the show.

There will be some highly experienced artists who are taking their work in a new direction, such as the (former) Young British Artist, Sarah Lucas, and Alasdair Gray, the 75-year-old Scottish author and poet, who is the oldest artist in the show.

There will too be younger names that look likely to become much better known. The youngest is the installation and performance artist Tris Vonna-Michell, 28, who combines storytelling with performance and who recently topped a poll of curators asking them to name their favourite young star.

Tom Morton, who is co-curator of the exhibition with Lisa Le Feuvre, said that the show has had a dramatic impact on artists down the years.

"What has been interesting talking to some of the artists in the show is that going to see a British Art Show when they were a sixth-former or student was one of the major things that inspired them to be an artist," he said.

While critics might say the British art scene may not enjoy the same towering profile as it did in 1995, Mr Morton said the talent on display this year was equally fresh and vital. "Every generation finds their own times really exciting," he added.

The curators said they had not set out to provide a comprehensive survey of the current scene but instead had spent a year researching what they regarded as the most significant artists working in Britain over the past five years. Of the work that will go on show, around 80 per cent will be specially created, some of it specifically for the settings where it will be displayed.

There were also representatives from six different nationalities and multiple ethnic backgrounds working in Britain today. No single medium will dominate with the entire range of the creative output represented, from painting to sculpture.

Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, said the show had been at the "forefront of innovation" since it began in 1979 and he promised this year would be no exception.

He said: "It allows visitors the chance to discover younger artists, and also re-evaluate and re-connect with artists whose work they thought they were familiar with, but whose new developments hold many surprises."

But while the title of the show may be taken from one of the best-known science-fiction novels of the Edwardian age, it is the notion of the looping comet through the ages acting as a harbinger of transformation that will provide the central theme, rather than spaceships or aliens.

"We are interested in the recurrent nature of the comet as a symbol of how each version of the present collides with the past and the future. T he work of the artists in the show, in many different ways, contests assumptions of how 'the now' might be understood," the curators said.

In the Days of the Comet was written in 1906, and Wells charts the near-future appearance of the strange heavenly body over the skies of Britain. A green gas is released, creating a huge change in all mankind, leading to a rejection of war and exploitation, and a heightened appreciation of beauty.

The British Art Show 7 begins in Nottingham before moving to the Hayward Gallery in February. It will be in Glasgow between May and August 2011, arriving in Plymouth in September and concluding in December.

The first show was in 1979 when 112 artists work were toured to Sheffield, Newcastle and Bristol. In 2005-6 a record 330,000 people went to see it. In 1990, it formed part of Glasgow's celebrations as European Capital of Culture. The show has drawn comparisons with the biennial exhibitions of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair