Press Release

Aquatopia The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep

Tate St Ives, 12 October 2013 − 26 January 2014. Admission: £7.00; £4.50 concessions; free to 18s and under and Members

Web banner for the Aquatopia exhibition at Tate St Ives

Aquatopia is a major exhibition of contemporary and historic art that explores how the ocean deep has been imagined across cultures and through time. The exhibition and the accompanying book reveal how human societies have projected their sexual desires, their will to power, and their fear of difference and mortality onto the often mysterious and weird life-forms the ocean sustains. The ocean deep, in this exhibition, is a dream-state, akin to the unconscious. At the same time, its mythologies represent far-reaching historical processes.

Aquatopia’s briny depths are populated with ancient sea monsters and futuristic dolphin embassies, sirens and paramilitary gill-men, sperm whales and water babies, shipwrecks and submersibles, giant squid and lecherous octopuses. The ocean’s fantastical species will be represented by iconic paintings, drawings and sculptures by JMW Turner, Marcel Broodthaers, Oskar Kokoshka, Barbara Hepworth, Odilon Redon, Lucian Freud and Hokusai, amongst others. It also includes video, performance, sculpture and painting by more recent significant figures in contemporary art such as Mark Dion, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Sean Landers, The Otolith Group, Simon Starling and Wangechi Mutu.

At Tate St Ives, the exhibition travels to the very edge of the ocean, occupying all of the gallery’s spectacular spaces, overlooking Porthmeor beach. Presented in collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary, the exhibition at Tate St Ives has been curated by Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, with Martin Clark, Tate St Ives’s former Artistic Director and Director of Bergen Kunsthalle. Featuring over two hundred artworks, as well as various aquatic artefacts and curios, the exhibition has been supported by loans from museums and private collectors, including Victoria & Albert Museum, National Maritime Museum and Tate’s own collection.

The art in Aquatopia has strong links with powerful literary archetypes, including The Odyssey, The Tempest, The Ancient Mariner, Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The richly illustrated catalogue, published by Nottingham Contemporary and Tate St Ives, in association with Tate Publishing, will include newly commissioned and recent critical essays by leading thinkers and writers on the sea from various disciplines, including Philip Hoare, Marcus Rediker, Marina Warner, Kodwo Eshun, Simon Grant, David Toop and Celeste Olalquiaga, as well as numerous literary works.

Editor notes

Featuring: Ant Farm, Alex Bag & Ethan Kramer, Hernan Bas, John Bellany, Guy Ben-Ner, Ashley Bickerton, Rudolf & Leopold Blaschka, Marcel Broodthaers, Marvin Gaye (formerly Spartacus) Chetwynd, Steven Claydon, David Cox the Elder, Liz Craft, Dorothy Cross, Salvador Dali, Francis Danby, Alan Davie, Mark Dion, Mati Diop, Gustave Doré, Dee Ferris, Stanhope Forbes, Lucian Freud, Vidya Gastaldon & Jean-Michel Wicker, Ernst Haeckel, Barbara Hepworth, Katsushika Hokusai, Christian Holstad, Herbert James Draper, Mikhail Karikis, Oskar Kokoschka, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Sean Landers, William Lionel Wyllie, Andrea Mantegna, Ana Mendieta, Madsen Mompremier, Wangechi Mutu, Willem Ormea, The Otolith Group, Jean Painlevé, Eric Ravilious, Odilon Redon, Germaine Richier, Henry Scott Tuke, Shimabuku, Simon Starling, Ricky Swallow, Juergen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans, JMW Turner, Marcel Van Eeden, Alfred Wallis, Edward Wadsworth, George Wallace Jardine, Karl Weschke, Jennifer West, Hannah Wilke, Frantz Zephirin.

Aquatopia is a collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary, where it opened on 20 July until 22 September 2013.

Tate St Ives

Tate St Ives opened in 1993 to celebrate the history and legacy of the artists who settled in the town. Based on a spectacular site overlooking Porthmeor Beach, the gallery presents a varied international programme, showing major figures in modern and contemporary art, through themed exhibitions and monographic displays.

By 2016 a capital project, Tate St Ives Phase 2, will provide larger, flexible gallery spaces, a new learning suite and improved visitor facilities, allowing greater scope for a dynamic programme of exhibitions, events and learning activities.

Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives Cornwall TR26 1TG

Opening hours: March–October daily 10.00–17.20, last admission 17.00.  October, Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 17.20, last admission 17.00. November–February, Tuesday–Sunday 10.00–16.20, last admission 16.00. 

Admission: £7.00; £4.50 concessions; free to 18s and under and Members

Visit: Follow us on Twitter @tate_stives

Nottingham Contemporary

Nottingham Contemporary is one of the UK’s leading international contemporary art centres. Solo exhibitions include David Hockney (1960 – 68) and Frances Stark, Diane Arbus and Gert & Uwe Tobias, Anne Collier and Jack Goldstein, Marc Camille Chaimowicz and Alberto Giacometti, Thomas Demand and Decolonizing Architecture.

Nottingham Contemporary is an artistic and educational charity that has welcomed over 750,000 visitors in its first three years. Entry to Nottingham Contemporary is free.

For further press information, please contact: Jenny McVean, Sutton PR, +44 (0) 20 7183 3577 +44 (0) 7595 217 650

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