Grundy Art Gallery launches autumn 2021 exhibitions

Posted on Tuesday 12th October 2021

84 Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Blackpool Light of My Life (lips), 2021. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the Blackpool Illuminations  11102021

Grundy Art Gallery ‘Blackpool Light of My Life’ exhibition including ‘Mermaid Lips’

Blackpool’s Grundy Art Gallery celebrates being 110 years young with launch of new autumn 2021 programme

Grundy Art Gallery is delighted to announce details of its upcoming autumn programme.

The programme includes a new light art installation by the internationally renowned artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman for the exterior of Grundy’s building; a major new international exhibition from Hayward Gallery Touring; a foyer display that looks back at Grundy’s 110 year history; and a new project for Grundy’s forecourt to coincide with Black History Month. Cllr Kath Benson, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Aspiration and Community Assets said:

“110 years after it opened its doors, Grundy continues to demonstrate its commitment to the people of Blackpool. From high profile international artists, to our local creative young people, the Grundy’s autumn programme will showcase the best of what Blackpool has to offer, as well as bringing to the town high quality exhibitions to share with the people of Blackpool and beyond.”


Not Without My Ghosts: The Artist as Medium

15 October  to  11 December
Grundy Art Gallery ground floor gallery spaces

Grundy Art Gallery and Hayward Gallery Touring presents  Not Without My Ghosts: The Artist as Medium, a major exhibition of 30+ international artists from 19th century to the present day, whose works are variously inspired by mediumship and its deep cultural history. Featuring works inspired by spirit experiences during séances and trances, to practices of automatism, surrealist experiments, and communications with higher powers and other realities, Not Without My Ghosts addresses 200 years of medium art by exploring how artists have been inspired or directly influenced by forces beyond those accepted by the modern world. 

The exhibition takes as its starting point the visionary work of William Blake and the largely forgotten Victorian spirit artists Georgiana Houghton and Barbara Honywood, whose work based on experiences and communication with the world of the spirits was strikingly at odds with prevailing traditions of artistic expression. The exhibition moves through the 20th Century where work by artists Austin Osman Spare, Ithell Colquhoun and Cameron draws on techniques of automatism combined with an interest in ritualised forms of occultism. 

Concluding with works from artists such as Emma Talbot, Suzanne Treister, Lea Porsager and Louise Despont, Not Without My Ghosts demonstrates how contemporary artists are using the power of the unseen and the ghostly to explore the radical ambiguities of the world around them. 

The exhibition opened at Drawing Room, London in Autumn 2020, where the focus was on drawing and its potential to reveal what lies beyond the confines of the visible. The exhibition has expanded to include painting, film and installation. The exhibition tours to Blackpool, Swansea and Sheffield – all of which have a connection to the rich legacy of Spiritualism: The strength of the spiritualist church in Lancashire and the seaside clairvoyance of Blackpool;  the renowned political activist and Spiritualist Winifred Coombe Tennant, one of the most significant early patrons and official buyer for the collection of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea; and finally the legacy of the Victorian art critic and social reformer John Ruskin in Sheffield. 

Participating artists are: Noviadi Angkasapura; William Blake; Cameron; Ann Churchill; Ithell Colquhoun; Louise Despont; Casimiro Domingo; Emma Talbot; Madame Fondrillon; Chiara Fumai; Vidya Gastaldon; Madge Gill, Susan Hiller; Barbara Honywood; Georgiana Houghton; Augustin Lesage; Pia Lindman; Ann Lislegaard; Grace Pailthorpe; František Jaroslav Pecka; Olivia Plender; Sigmar Polke; Lea Porsager; Austin Osman Spare; and Suzanne Treister with The Museum of Blackhole Spacetime Collective.  

Blackpool Light of My Life :Chila Kumari Singh Burman

From 19 October
Exterior of Grundy Art Gallery building

Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool Illuminations and Lightpool Festival are excited to announce details of a new light art installation by the internationally recognised artist, Chila Kumari Singh Burman. After high profile projects for Tate Britain and Covent Garden in London, the artist has now turned her sights to Blackpool and the town’s Grade II listed Grundy Art Gallery.

As part of this year’s Lightpool Festival, visitors will be able to delight in a riotous display of multi-coloured new light works; specially commissioned for the exterior of the building.

Brought together under the title, “Blackpool Light of My Life”, the exhibition is the artist’s love letter to the town; which she hopes will help people to feel joy at a time when such emotions may be hard to find.

Bright pink flamingos stand strong; their beaks touching to form a heart; a pair of glowing lips encourage us to pass on a smile; a dazzling toy windmill signifies the winds of change and a multi-coloured tree of life reminds us of our connectedness to the here and now, and to one another. In addition, and as a centrepiece to the display, the artist has provided Blackpool with a powerful symbol of renewal in the form of a mermaid. To complete the display, the artist has wrapped the four stone columns, which sit either side of Grundy’s entrance, in brightly coloured, densely collaged prints topped off with ropes of light.

Alongside her work for the exterior of Grundy Art Gallery, audiences will also be able to view other artwork by the artist in Blackpool this autumn. White Tiger, is a stunning interpretation of the car that played a starring role in the film, The White Tiger. Created to celebrate the Netflix launch of the critically acclaimed film based on the New York Times bestseller and the 2008 Man Booker-Prize winning novel of the same name; the car is emblazoned with the artist’s signature neon and collage designs, the work will be on display in the former Disney Store in Hounds Hill Shopping Centre until 30 October.

Born in Bootle, to Punjabi-Hindu parents, Chila Kumari Singh Burman is celebrated for her radical feminist practice which examines representation, gender and cultural identity. She works across a wide range of mediums including printmaking, drawing, painting, installation and film.

Blackpool Light of My Life is co-commissioned by Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool Illuminations and Lightpool Festival and has been made possible with funding from an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant. The appearance of the White Tiger Car in Blackpool is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and utilises an award from the main Welcome Back Fund.

Grundy Art Gallery 110 Years Young

26 October to 11 December
Grundy Art Gallery Foyer

26 October 2021 marks 110 years of Grundy Art Gallery opening its doors to the people of Blackpool and beyond.

To celebrate this event, Grundy Art Gallery’s foyer will provide the setting for a display of archival materials that will look back into the history of the gallery. Looking forward, the display will also highlight some of the exciting future activity that is planned. In addition to this, Grundy’s 110 anniversary is being marked in a number of different ways including; newly designed shop products, the unveiling of a Blue Plaque and the establishing of a Grundy Art Gallery Anniversary Collection, which will see the acquisition of new works into Grundy’s permanent collection. Made throughout the year, these new works are being selected to provide future audiences with a record of the extraordinary times that we are living through and for the fact that they each speak very clearly of the time in which they have been made.

Grundy Art Gallery Forecourt Commission

Brendan Bunting: BLACKpool
From 19 October  to  11 December

The Grundy Art Gallery Forecourt Commission is an ongoing programme of new works that are commissioned specifically for presentation on the exterior glass panels of Grundy’s forecourt. This high profile, highly visible programme is part of Grundy’s ambition to extend its activity outside of the four walls of the gallery.

The next Grundy Art Gallery Forecourt Commission will present the work of Blackpool based artist, and Youth Worker Brendan Bunting. Exploring identity, community and history, this new work captures what life was like growing up, mixed raced in Blackpool. Created for Black History Month, this work will be the starting point for a series of workshops with young people in the town that will explore race and identity. The workshops will be delivered through a partnership between Grundy Art Gallery, the Resilience Revolution and Brendan Bunting.

Workshops/Talks and events

The autumn programme will be supported by a range of activities and events that will provide opportunities to find out more about the art and artists on display, as well as exploring and developing the participants’ own creativity. Sign up to the Grundy newsletter via the Grundy website Keep an eye on the website and watch out for posts via Grundy’s social media channels to find out more

Additional information: Credit notes

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, (lips), (mermaid), design stage images © the artist, courtesy Blackpool Illuminations.

Ann Churchill, Blue Oval Drawing, 1975, Courtesy the artist. Image credit: David Bebber

Grace Pailthorpe, The Torment of Tantalus, 1938 Private collection. Courtesy Galerie 1900-2000, Paris

About Hayward Gallery Touring 

Hayward Gallery Touring is the UK’s largest and longest-standing not-for-profit organisation producing exhibitions of modern and contemporary art that tour to galleries, museums and other publicly funded venues throughout Britain. Funded by Arts Council England and based at the Southbank Centre, London, Hayward Gallery Touring collaborates with independent curators, artists, writers and galleries to create ambitious exhibitions that are beyond the scope of a single institution. Ranging in scale from the British Art Show – the largest exhibition of contemporary art produced in the UK – to smaller monographic shows, our imaginative exhibitions are seen by up to half a million people in over 40 cities and towns each year. 

About Drawing Room 

Drawing Room is a not-for-profit gallery, library, shop and online resource that is dedicated to opening up the world of contemporary drawing to everyone. It is internationally renowned for stimulating debate around the nature and purpose of drawing today. Through free exhibitions, artists’ talks, practical workshops and a unique library, it nurtures the production and promotes the understanding of drawing. Drawing Room is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and collaborates with institutions to expand research, produce publications and tour its exhibitions. 

About the Southbank Centre 

The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre and one of the UK’s top five visitor attractions in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to four Resident Orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and four Associate Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain). 

About Grundy Art Gallery

Grundy Art Gallery is Blackpool’s art gallery and offers a year round programme of contemporary visual art exhibitions and events including solo and group exhibitions together with talks, workshops and educational activities. The gallery is housed in a Grade II listed Carnegie building and has a collection that opened in 1911, following a bequest by brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy. Today the collection includes works by established artists such as Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Laura Ford, Gilbert and George, Brian Griffiths, Augustus John, Haroon Mirza and Eric Ravilious alongside works by regionally based emerging talent such as Joe Fletcher Orr and Louise Giovanelli. Grundy Art Gallery is supported by Blackpool Council and also receives regular funding as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations. 2021 marks the 110th anniversary of the gallery opening its doors to the people of Blackpool and beyond. This anniversary is being marked in a number of different ways including exhibitions, newly designed shop products, the unveiling of a Blue Plaque and the establishing of a Grundy Art Gallery Anniversary Collection, which will see the gallery acquiring new works throughout the 2020/21 period that variously speak of these extraordinary times in which they have been made.

About Chila Kumari Singh Burman.

Chila Kumari Singh Burman is celebrated for her radical feminist practice, which examines representation, gender and cultural identity. She works across a wide range of mediums including printmaking, drawing, painting, installation and film. Born in Bootle, to Punjabi-Hindu parents, she attended Southport College of Art, Leeds Polytechnic and the Slade School of Fine Art. A key figure in the British Black Arts movement in the 1980s, Burman has since remained rooted in her understating of the diverse nature of culture. Continually seeking to break stereotypes and emancipate the image of women, she often uses self-portraiture as a tool of empowerment and self-determination. More recently Burman was selected as the fourth artist to complete the Tate Britain Winter Commission in 2020. The resulting hugely popular installation Remembering A Brave New World, addressed the colonial history of Tate Britain and its Eurocentric position. Adorning the gallery façade with references to Indian mythology, popular culture, female empowerment, political activism and colonial legacy. Exposing a need for better informed conversations and more effective strategies for tackling racism in the art world and wider society. In 2017, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and Honorary Fellowship from the University of Arts in London. And has exhibited widely with notable solo shows held at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), Middlesbrough; Output Gallery, Liverpool and Tate Britain, London. Her works are also represented in many museums and public galleries including Tate, London; Wellcome Trust, London; British Council; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Science Museum, London and Arts Council Collection, England. Chila Kumari Singh Burman lives and works in London, England. 

About Blackpool Illuminations and Lightpool Festival

The Lightpool festival began in 2016, to celebrate the Illuminations by bringing contemporary light and fire artists to Blackpool to be inspired by the town’s unique relationship with light. The festival won the Large Tourism Event at the Lancashire Tourism awards in 2017. Lightpool Festival 2021 is a festival of light and fire that will take place between October 15 and 30 in Blackpool. The world-famous Illuminations need little introduction. There are six miles of traditional festoons and tableaux along Blackpool Promenade – no wonder it’s commonly known as the greatest free light show on Earth!  The Blackpool Illuminations now attract more than three million visitors to the resort each year, with many travelling across the UK to see ‘the lights’.  In 2021, Blackpool Illuminations will be shining from 3 September to  3 January 2022.

Posted on Tuesday 12th October 2021

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