Press Release

PAUL NASH

This autumn Tate Britain will present Paul Nash, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work for a generation. Paul Nash is one of the most distinctive and important British artists of the 20th century.

Paul Nash, ‘Equivalents for the Megaliths’ 1935
Paul Nash
Equivalents for the Megaliths 1935
Tate

26 October 2016 – 5 March 2017 (Press View: 24 October 2016)
Supported by the Paul Nash Exhibition Supporters Group and Tate Patrons
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00
For public information call +44 (0)20 7887 8888, visit tate.org.uk, follow @Tate

This autumn Tate Britain will present Paul Nash, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work for a generation. Paul Nash is one of the most distinctive and important British artists of the 20th century. Renowned as a war artist in both the First and Second World Wars, the exhibition will further reveal Nash’s work from his earliest drawings through to his final visionary landscapes. Nash was fascinated with Britain’s ancient past and spent time in southern England exploring the downs and coastal areas. The exhibition will look at how these landscapes influenced his work and provided a stage for his engagements with international modern art movements such as surrealism. 


The most evocative landscape painter of his generation, the exhibition will cover all the significant developments of Nash’s career, opening with his early Symbolist watercolours exploring the mystic life-force of trees, and the powerful shattered landscapes of the First World War. Nash became an Official War Artist in 1917, expressing the waste of life through the violation of nature. He created some of the most iconic images of the First World War such as We Are Making a New World 1918.

On his return, Nash’s landscape paintings focused on places of particular significance to him including Dymchurch where a series of works such as The Shore 1923 reflected on his war experience and evoked the bleak beauty of the Kent coast. In the 1930s Nash drew on surrealist ideas to interpret the British landscape in a way that made connections between modernism and tradition. He explored the idea of a life force in inanimate objects from monoliths and trees to stones and bones. These ideas were realised through the juxtaposition of found objects with landscape to create mysterious encounters, in paintings such as Event on the Downs 1934 and Equivalents for the Megaliths 1935.

Photography became an important part of Nash’s working practice in the 1930s, combined with natural objects in assemblages such as Only Egg 1936-7. This way of working was similar to that of Eileen Agar with whom Nash worked closely during this period and the two artists’ work will be shown together in the exhibition. In the late 1930s Nash’s landscape paintings increasingly explored the boundary between dream and reality such as Landscape from a Dream 1936-8. At the end of his life the Wittenham Clumps in Oxfordshire stimulated a series of visionary landscapes inspired by the seasonal cycles of the equinox and the phases of the moon including Landscape of the Vernal Equinox 1943.

The exhibition will be the first to examine Nash’s position at the centre of developments in British modernism and his dialogues with international artists as one of the leading figures in British surrealism. It will show his contributions to major exhibitions of the 1930s, such as the International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936 and the Unit One exhibition which toured across the UK in 1934-5. Nash was a founder member of this British modernist group of painters, sculptors and architects which included John Armstrong, Barbara Hepworth, Tristram Hillier, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Edward Wadsworth. The exhibition will show works by Nash alongside those of fellow Unit One members, exploring the debates about abstraction and surrealism in which Nash participated during this period. The exhibition will examine how Nash’s work was both an imaginative response to the natural world and at the centre of developments in modern art in Britain.

Paul Nash is curated by Emma Chambers, Curator, Modern British Art and Inga Fraser, Assistant Curator, Modern British Art. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a special publication on Paul Nash’s photography from Tate Publishing.

For press information contact Sara.Warsama@tate.org.uk or Emma.Double@tate.org.uk or call +44(0)20 7887 8732/4942. For high-resolution images visit tate.org.uk/press

RELATED EVENTS

BSL TOUR: PAUL NASH
Tate Britain, in the exhibition
19 October 2016, 11.00 – 12.00 Admission free
In this British Sign Language tour discover the surreal and mystical work of Paul Nash

BLACK DOG: THE DREAMS OF PAUL NASH
Tate Britain, The Clore Auditorium
13 November 2016, 14.30-17.00 (Performance and Talk £10, concessions available. Talk £5, concessions available)
Illustrator, comic artist, filmmaker and musician Dave McKean will present his new multimedia performance. It will involve a live-staging of his new graphic novel featuring animations, live music and narration. The performance will be followed by a talk discussing Paul Nash’s use of symbolism and dreams to create a personal mythology of landscape with Emma Chambers, curator of the exhibition.

AUDIO DESCRIPTION: PAUL NASH
Tate Britain, in the exhibition
21 November 2016, 11.00-12.30 Admission free
Learn about Paul Nash and have key paintings brought to life through this audio described tour for blind and partially sighted visitors.

ARTIST TALK: ASSEMBLE
Tate Britain, The Clore Auditorium
24 November 2016, 18.30 – 20.00 (£12, concessions available)
Turner Prized winners Assemble will discuss their recent commission, Art on the Underground, and will consider it within the context of the Paul Nash exhibition.