The exhibition – Revealed – features more than 160 works from the UK Government Art Collection, usually displayed in official residences and government buildings around the world
Divided into five sections, Revealed presents different aspects of the Collection’s role from the selection and commissioning of works to their use in new or refurbished government buildings. The selections highlight how the Collection often makes cultural, historical or geographical connections between the works and the locations in which they are displayed.
In a fresh approach to developing exhibition content, the Government Art Collection invited personal choices from politicians and ambassadors, giving an insight into the role played by art in cultural diplomacy. Equally novel is the selection by staff from 10 Downing Street of art they encountered in their daily working lives. Selections by artist Cornelia Parker and historian Simon Schama provide unique and intriguing perspectives on the Collection in all its richness and variety. The final selection focuses on the GAC commissioned artworks that include a recent multi-media installation from the artist Mel Brimfield.
Spanning hundreds of years, the fabulous exhibition showcases work by artists as diverse as Walter Sickert, L.S. Lowry, Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin and Turner Prize winners Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, Gillian Wearing and Grayson Perry. Subject matter is equally various, ranging from Byron to the Beatles.
Tim Cooke, Director of National Museums Northern Ireland, said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Government Art Collection to stage this special exhibition.”
“Revealed offers visitors to the Ulster Museum a unique opportunity to explore a stimulating range of art and brings works by a number of different artists to Northern Ireland for the first time.”
Penny Johnson, Director of the Government Art Collection said, “This exhibition will offer visitors to Ulster Museum the chance to see the extraordinary breadth of works of art that normally hang in UK Embassies, High Commissions and other official residences and buildings around the world. I’m particularly pleased that we’ve been able to bring all these engaging works, dating from the 16th century to the present day, together under one roof here in Belfast.”
To accompany the exhibition, the Government Art Collection has produced a free gallery guide to illustrate all the works within the exhibition. The guide also features two essays by Cornelia Parker and Simon Schama.
Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art at National Museums Northern Ireland, said “Coinciding with exhibitions showcasing Irish landscape painting and the work of Belfast artist John Luke, this exhibition offers an opportunity to see the historic and contemporary work of world-renowned artists. We hope that visitors will enjoy this display of work from what has been described as ‘a challenging, unconventional art collection’.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events including special tours, talks and lectures. For further information visit www.nmni.com.