From Art to Archaeology is a new South Bank Centre touring exhibition opening at the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne on 24 August.
From Art to Archaeology draws together works by eleven contemporary British artists who have responded to an ancient graphic land art, such as that found in the hill drawings of giants and horses which populate the chalk downlands of Southern England and the mysterious, graven cup-and-ring-mark stones which lie on the moorlands of Northern Britain.
Some artists have been selected who have worked around particular sites at Cerne Abbas, Uffington, Wilmington or in Scotland, while other artists’ interpretation of site is more eclectic. The range of contemporary works in the show spans twenty five years. Those from the 1970s include Richard Long’s Cerne Abbas (1975). Glen Onwin’s Forest/Peat(1976) and Roger Ackling’s And they cast their shadows (1977) made in the Vale of the White Horse, Uffington. Roger Ackling has been commissioned by the South Bank Centre to revisit the Uffington site after 14 years to produce a companion piece to this earlier work. Other commissions include drawings by John Maine of field systems around chosen hill figure sites and photoworks by Thomas Joshua Cooper which evoke the extraordinary sense of place prevalent in cup-and-ring-mark sites in Scotland. Selected works by Kate Whiteford include two of her Symbol Stone drawings (1983) and four silkscreen prints of her Sitelines project (1990). Artists who have worked from the Long Man of Wilmington in Sussex include Barry Flanagan who will show Pilgrim on Anvil (1984) and Malcolm Whittaker.
Other works not directly related to particular sites but extending the exhibition’s theme include Nicky Donnelly’s Shillelagh Dreaming-Holt Cow (1989), a painting which draws together a Celtic prehistory and aspects of present-day Irish culture. Jeffrey Andrews’ Grounds Worker (1991) incorporates modern day ‘fossils’ into coloured concrete slabs, and Susan Trangman in Ancestors I,/i> (1991) presents an installation of four large-scale photoworks of ‘faces’ which take on the aspect of landscape.
The exhibition also includes a documentation section on hill figure and cup-and-ring-mark sites, some archaeological artefacts and an audio visual presentation on the history of artists working from both the land and historic sites in Britain. This exhibition has been devised and selected by Helen Luckett, Art Education Officer and Alexandra Noble, Exhibition Organiser at the South Bank Centre. A catalogue will be published to coincide with the exhibition with an essay by Dr Christopher Chippendale, curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology