Turner Contemporary

Turner Contemporary






01843 233000

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Turner Contemporary
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Turner Contemporary is the South East's major new gallery. We celebrate JMW Turner's association with Margate, by showcasing historical and contemporary art through a rolling programme of exhibitions. We have regular events, many of which are free for you to take part in. Admission to the gallery is free.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open Tuesday to Sunday and bank holidays 10am-6pm
(closed Mondays except bank holidays)

Admission charges


Additional info

Turner Contemporary is fully accessible for visitors, with a ramp to the main entrance and café, as well as an internal lift to all upper floor galleries.

Seven disabled parking spaces are available on the piazza at the front of the gallery, as signposted.

Turner Contemporary Café is open Tuesday to Sunday, serving delicious hot and cold food and drinks, locally sourced where possible.

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Van Dyck's final self-portrait

Self: Image and Identity from Van Dyck to Louise Bourgeois

  • 17 November 2014 — 10 May 2015 *on now

Organised in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition presents artist self-portraits from the sixteenth-century to the present day. More than 60 works from the National Portrait Gallery will be presented alongside key twentieth-century and contemporary self-portraits from major public and private international collections. Central to the exhibition is Sir Antony Van Dyck’s last self-portrait of 1640-1, purchased in 2014 following a joint public appeal by the National Portrait Gallery and the Art Fund. Turner Contemporary will be the first venue where visitors can see Van Dyck’s remarkable self-portrait as it embarks on a major nationwide tour.

Taking Van Dyck’s legacy and self-portrait as a starting point, the development of the genre of self-portraiture will be considered in the exhibition through four key themes: identity, mortality, patronage and contemporary approaches. From historical representation to contemporary responses, such as Jason Evans’s new commission Sound System Self-Portrait, the exhibition features more than 100 artists including; Louise Bourgeois; John Constable; Lucian Freud; Damien Hirst; David Hockney; Angelia Kauffmann, Sarah Lucas, JMW Turner and Gillian Wearing.

Self: Image and Identity is sponsored by St Lawrence College.

Suitable for

  • Any age


  • 24 January — 10 May 2015 *on now

In a world where 'selfies' have become everyday expressions and ‘Britishness’ is being redefined, what is the role of self-portraiture and how has it shifted through the history of art to the present day?

In this extraordinary new exhibition, Turner Contemporary becomes a frame through which self-portraiture is re-evaluated in the 21st century, sparking conversations on history, celebrity, collecting, gender, mortality and contemporary approaches.

Artists have been recreating their own image for centuries. From self-advertisement and preserving legacy, to figurative studies, political commentary and biographical exploration self-representation, has shaped Western art.

We reflect on artists' self-portraits from Sir Anthony van Dyck's last Self-portrait of 1640-1, recently saved for the nation, to Louise Bourgeois. Over 100 works, most of which are from the National Portrait Gallery London, are brought together for an expansive look at the artists’ self.
Historical and contemporary artists sit side by side, including Sir Anthony van Dyck, Mary Beale, Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Jason Evans, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Angelica Kauffmann, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Yinka Shonibare MBE, JMW Turner and Andy Warhol.

Suitable for



Installation view of Mr Lion

Exhibition: Mr Lion 14

  • 10 February — 22 May 2015 *on now

This spring, local community group Blank Canvas showcase their work for the first time at Turner Contemporary in Mr Lion 14. The exhibition, which takes place in Turner Contemporary’s Ground Floor space from 10 February until 22 March, collectively presents more than 20 works in a range of mediums including paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography and found objects.

While individually created by 16 members of Blank Canvas, the artworks in the exhibition have been conceived collaboratively in the group’s quest to explore the identity of the unknown character, Mr Lion. Led by artist Lucy Steggals, the exhibition aims to gather and examine information about the enigmatic Mr Lion. Who is he? Is he human? Where does he inhabit? Is he even male? Each member’s creative response and perception of the fictional character differs. Certain members present imagined portraits of Mr Lion, while others exhibit found objects relating to the character. The exhibition also includes work by 9 local and London-based artists, all of whom collaborated with members of Blank Canvas on the project.

Blank Canvas are a local community group of around 40 creative enthusiasts, who meet regularly at Turner Contemporary to create, experiment and converse. Over the past five years, the group, made up of all ages, has been involved in a range of projects initiated by Turner Contemporary. Projects include internal workshops and the transnational exchange programme, ETNA.


Gallery opening times: Mon: Closed, Tue – Sun: 10.00 – 18.00



cymbals suspended from the ceiling

Carlos Amorales

  • 1 March 2015 — 10 January 2016 *on now

As part of the Year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico in 2015 Turner Contemporary presents an installation by Mexican artist Carlos Amorles. The installation will be presented in Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery with its double height windows and spectacular views over the North Sea.

Carlos Amorles works in a range of media to explore the use and limits of language. The centrepiece of Amorles’s installation in the Sunley Gallery, We Will See How Everything
Reverberates (2012), is a sculpture of suspended symbols based on the shape of Alexander Calder’s mobiles. Visitors are invited to play the cymbals in a work that exists both in silence and harmony as well as chaos and noise.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Andrew Cross

  • 24 March — 28 June 2015 *on now

Andrew Cross is a British artist and curator known for his photographic and film based explorations of structure and place.

This exhibition features photographs from the recent project Mogadishu - Lost Moderns exploring architectural legacies that have endured the upheavals of Mogadishu's recent past.

Alongside these images he offers by contrast a glimpse into places of personal certainty, including his late mother’s garden.

Suitable for




  • 2 April — 10 May 2015 *on now

See work by aspiring young artists and teachers from Kent schools.

Portfolio is Turner Contemporary’s annual art competition, this year’s theme is This is ME! inspired by Sir Anthony van Dyck’s last Self portrait.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Ceramic by Grayson Perry Precious Boys, 2004

Grayson Perry: Provincial Punk

  • 23 May — 13 September 2015

Grayson Perry’s work combines autobiographic references with wry social commentary on themes ranging from class and taste to the status of the artist versus that of the
artisan or maker. At the heart of Perry’s practice is a passionate desire to communicate his thoughts on aspects of contemporary experience.

This exhibition presents a selection of Grayson Perry’s ceramics and other artworks
including tapestries, prints, bronze and iron sculpture. Working in traditional media, he is interested in how each historic category of object accrues intellectual and emotional baggage over time. Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing us in to his exquisitely crafted works with beauty, wit, sentiment and nostalgia, whilst at the same time exploring issues within society and culture that instigate fear, uncertainty and anger.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Free exhibition tour

  • 4 — 6 April 2015

Discover more about the exhibition with a guided tour by our knowledgeable Gallery Assistant.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Easy Sunday: In the Frame

  • 3 April 2015 1-4pm
  • 6 April 2015 1-4pm
  • 19 April 2015 1-4pm
  • 3 May 2015 1-4pm

Create a surprising and innovative self portrait, inspired by Sir Anthony van Dyck’s painting in our exhibition Self, complete with your own dramatic framing.

Workshop conceived by artist Marc Woodhead.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Drop in. £3.50 per child. Free for adults, under 3s and families living in CT9 postcode.



Craft Club

  • 25 April 2015 1-4pm

Our friendly makers are here to welcome you and show you some new crafts, guide you further on ones you’re mastering and more.

Crafts include pegloom weaving, sewing, crochet, knitting and more.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Easy Sunday: Face to Face

  • 5 April 2015 1-4pm
  • 26 April 2015 1-4pm
  • 4 May 2015 1-4pm

Combine your own self portrait with your favourite portrait from the exhibition to create a selfie in disguise. Workshop conceived by artist Marc Woodhead.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£3.50 per child. Free for adults, under 3s and families living in CT9 postcode.



Easy Holiday: Group Portrait Sculptures

  • 8 — 9 April 2015 1-4pm

Make your own group self portrait using sculpture with artist Jemima Brown.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£3.50 per child. Free for adults, under 3s and families living in CT9 postcode.



Concept sketch of the foam structure for Maze by designer Ron Arad

Turner Contemporary and Jasmin Vardimon Company present a new production in 2015

  • 10 — 15 April 2015

Two of the UK’s leading arts organisations, Jasmin Vardimon Company and Turner Contemporary are collaborating to present an immersive new performance experience in April 2015, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Exceptional award programme.

Maze, an extraordinary new work bridging dance theatre and the visual arts, will invite audience members to explore a world of surprise, wonder, delight and occasionally, unease, as dancers inhabit an astonishing labyrinth structure.

Maze will occupy a self-contained architecture conceived in Margate for the performance by designer, artist and architect Ron Arad in collaboration with installation artist Guy Bar Amotz. Inspired by Arad’s visit to a foam factory in China, the architectural structure will be made from industrial foam using its tactility and visual qualities to create a unique immersive space. Navigating their way along one of several paths through this architectural labyrinth, visitors will encounter a feast of sights, sounds, smells, textures and actions; some moments will be intimate and moving, others so spectacular as to defy belief.

Additional funding has been awarded by Kent County Council to support the delivery of an education programme associated with Maze. Educational activities will explore the making of Maze as well as themes, choreography and concepts explored in the work and will engage children and young people to reach their own interpretations and creative responses to the work.
Maze will be staged at the Winter Gardens in Margate from 10 until 15 April 2015.

Suitable for

  • 18+


  • 11 — 15 April 2015

Immerse yourself in the unknown… Buried deep into Margate’s caves, within the Winter Gardens, Maze awaits you.

Leave inhibitions behind and immerse yourself in the unknown. Choose the ‘light’ or ‘dark’ path and enter Maze, a foam structure of industrial proportions where the two worlds of dance and visual art collide to create an immersive adventure.

Moving through the labyrinth, a feast of multi-sensory moments submerse you into the Maze. Intimate and moving, delightful and uneasy, become observer and participant, as the world of Maze shifts and surprises.

Maze is an immersive new performance presented by Jasmin Vardimon Company and Turner Contemporary. Choreographed by critically-acclaimed director Jasmin Vardimon, with collaboration from designer and architect Ron Arad and artist Guy Bar-Amotz.

Suitable for


Margate Winter Gardens


£15 / £10 concessions. Book at maze-event.org



Easy Holiday: Maze

  • 15 April 2015 1-4pm

Inspired by our event with Jasmin Vardimon Company, Maze, create your own labyrinth-like structure.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£3.50 per child. Free for adults, under 3s and families living in CT9 postcode.



Easy Holiday: Exploring Turner

  • 16 April 2015

It's our 4th birthday! So we're celebrating with a special workshop where you can try your hand at being JMW Turner, the gallery's namesake.

Learn about Britain's best-loved painter, than have a go at creating a painting inspired by the artist.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Turner Lecture and Dinner

  • 23 April 2015 6-10pm

Pay tribute to Britain’s best-loved painter JMW Turner on the anniversary of his birth, and help
us raise funds to continue our outstanding work.

Writer Jeanette Winterson leads an exclusive lecture exploring The Selfie or the Self? Image and Identity in Life and Art
a look at the relationship between multiplying images in a digital world and the effort to create an identity we recognise as real. From Rembrandt to Kim Kardashian, Facebook and Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and CCTV, what does it mean to live in a hall of mirrors where the human image is simultaneously us and not us?

Followed by an exquisite three course dinner overlooking, as Turner declared, “the loveliest
skies in all Europe”.

Suitable for


Lecture Dinner ticket early bird with £15 donation - £100 (RRP £115)
Lecture Dinner ticket early bird table of 8 with £100 donation - £700 (RRP £800)
Lecture Dinner ticket early bird - £85
Lecture Dinner ticket early bird table of 8 - £600



The Boy Who Bit Picasso

  • 1 May 2015 4:30-5:30pm

A story of how a young boy became friends with one of the greatest artists who ever lived. With storytelling, music and the chance to make your own art. Oxford Playhouse and Untied Artists present this interactive theatre show for everyone aged four and over.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


£3.50 per person.



Video still of a walking away from a burning plane


  • 7 October 2015 — 17 January 2016

Creating art is risky by nature; it always involves an element of the unknown – a gap between intent and outcome. During the last century artists have sought to expand that gap and, in so doing, challenge the status of the artwork as a closed object. The exhibition will propose risk as an important element of key artistic moments during the last century, which continues to feature in contemporary practice. Risk has played a role in Abstract Expressionist painting, post-minimal sculpture and “process” art, performance art, and work made in the context of and responding to political conditions around the world, among other practices. Featuring works from the twentieth-century to the present day, the exhibition will bring together artworks and artistic practices that engaged directly with risk exploring the subject through a range of themes: the intersection between risk and chance; the artist at risk; the contemporary landscape of risk; materials and processes and exposure and self-revelation. Among the artists presented in the exhibition are Marina Abramovic, Francis Alÿs, Marcel Duchamp, Simon Faithfull, Gerhard Richter, JMW Turner and performances by Jasmin Vardimon Company.

Suitable for

  • Any age