Pop and Abstract heads triumvirate of new shows at National Museum Cardiff

By Emily Beeson | 22 March 2013

Exhibition preview: Tim Davies: Drift; until May 26 2013; Pop and Abstract; Nothing Is What It Is Because Everything Is What It Isn't, both until September 1, National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff

An image of a pop art painting of a house
Ken Elias, Days are Where we Live (1968-69). Acrylic on canvas. Lent by the University of Glamorgan© Ken Elias
This spring the National Museum Cardiff makes a return to the sixties with March’s Pop and Abstract exhibition, a collections-based display reflecting the significant transformation experienced by the British art world across the post-war period.

A considerable and diverse collection of pop art highlights the groundbreaking change in attitude toward culture and advertising during a period when British visual art movements drew closer to those in America, making way for innovation and a change in creative production.

Supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust, the exhibition directly addresses the ways in which the fluid and progressive concepts of pop and abstraction influenced artists based in Wales, focusing on Welsh interpretations of the pop art movement.

The showcase also serves to interrogate how these themes not only sparked a revolutionary body of work, but continue to permeate the work that contemporary artists continue to produce.

Facilitating strong links between contemporary Welsh art and the movements of the sixties, the exhibition features pieces by Alan Davie, David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Peter Blake, as well as works by the likes of Mali Morris and Ken Elias, making up an ample body of work documenting the great influence of the abstract and pop art movements on post-war British art.

In keeping with the National Museum’s support of Welsh artists, Drift will screen three separate films by Tim Davies, shown together for the first time.

Two of them, Drift and Frari, contributed to the Wales in Venice presentation at the 54th Venice Biennale, where Davies represented the country in 2011.

They provide a striking representation of Venice and its history of influential artists, including Monet, Canaletto and Whistler.

Drift, Frari and Capricci, three films combined in a single installation, invite the viewer to experience a triumvirate of visual works by one of Wales’ leading artists.

Another Welsh artist, Holly Davey, has a new project, supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust and commissioned by the Museum.

Nothing is What it is Because Everything is What it Isn’t is a large scale, site-specific photographic installation, created for the Landing area of the museum’s Contemporary Galleries.

The piece stretches over a stairwell, provoking a reassessment of the traditional functions of space and exploring themes of memory and architecture and psychogeography.

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed Monday, open most Bank Holiday Mondays). Admission free. Follow the museum on Twitter @Museum_Cardiff.
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