Arnolfini is a contemporary arts organisation in Bristol that attracts half a million visits a year.
In a fantastic waterside location at the heart of Bristol’s harbourside, Arnolfini is one of Europe’s leading centres for the contemporary arts, presenting innovative, experimental work in the visual arts, performance, dance, film, music and events, accompanied by a programme of educational activities. Five exhibition spaces, a theatre/cinema auditorium, Reading Room and Light/Dark Studios are housed in the Grade II listed, fully accessible building. The converted warehouse also contains one of the country’s best arts bookshops as well a café bar.
Arnolfini is open six days a week with free admission to the building, exhibitions as well as a stylish, lively café bar.
11am - 6pm, Tues - Sun and Bank Holiday Mondays
Sun 11am - 7pm
Mon 10am - 6pm
Tues - Sat 10am - 9pm
Sun 10am - 7pm
11pm - 6pm, Tues - Sun
Closed: Mondays (except Bank Holidays)
Admission to the exhibitions is free.
In the visual art programme Arnolfini presents international developments and emerging trends through one-person and group exhibitions, commissions and projects. The programme draws attention to important British artists at an early stage of their career and presents timely exhibitions by major international artists.
The live art and dance programme, with its mix of highly visual, often provocative and non-narrative productions, offers one of the most exciting perspectives on contemporary performance and dance in the UK. Arnolfini is committed to commissioning new work to enable artists to develop their practice and to experiment.
In Arnolfini's cinema you'll find a distinctive programme of independent film, featuring a range of cinema including themed seasons, artists films, special festivals, film/music events and arthouse titles.
The learning and interaction programme continues to develop projects with partners old and new, supporting teachers and groups to get the most out of our activities. Arnolfini also programmes and hosts a range of talks, events, courses and local festivals.
Arnolfini celebrated its 50th birthday in 2011. It was established in 1961 by Jeremy and Annabel Rees above a bookshop on the Triangle in central Bristol. Its policy then is still relevant today: "to seek out challenging, often controversial and sometimes relatively unknown artists and performers and to provide a vital showcase for their work." Arnolfini's move to Narrow Quay in 1975 proved a catalyst in attracting other businesses to the then neglected dockside; the revitalised waterfront is now a focal point for Bristol's social and cultural life.
Photography, Performing Arts, Music, Fine Art, Film and Media, Design
John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea
- 16 January — 10 April 2016 *on now
Vertigo Sea, a three-screen film, first seen at the 56th Venice Biennale as part of Okwui Enwezor’s All the World’s Futures exhibition, is a sensual, poetic and cohesive meditation on man's relationship with the sea and exploration of its role in the history of slavery, migration, and conflict. Fusing archival material, readings from classical sources, and newly shot footage, the work explicitly highlights the greed, horror and cruelty of the whaling industry. This material is then juxtaposed with shots of African migrants crossing the ocean in a journey fraught with danger in hopes of ‘better life’ and thus delivering a timely and potent reminder of the current issues around global migration, the refugee crisis, slavery, alongside ecological concerns.
Shot on the Isle of Skye, the Faroe Islands and the Northern regions of Norway, with the BBC’s Bristol based Natural History Unit, Vertigo Sea draws upon two remarkable books: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) and Heathcote Williams’ epic poem Whale Nation (1988), a harrowing and inspiring work which charts the history, intelligence and majesty of the largest mammal on earth.
As part of the exhibition, a new work Tropikos (2016) will also be shown. Set in the sixteenth century and using the writings and memoirs of a number of seafarers as its raw material, this single channel film is a Brechtian costume drama which merges Shakespeare's The Tempest with true accounts of the journeys to and dreams of the 'New World'.
Art from Elsewhere: International Contemporary Art from UK Galleries
- 22 April — 17 July 2016
The Art Fund International scheme, launched in 2007, allocated six museums across the UK up to £1m to invest in acquisitions from international artists over a period of five years. The successful collections were Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with The New Art Gallery Walsall, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) and Towner, Eastbourne.
This Hayward Touring exhibition, curated by internationally renowned curator David Elliott, recognises the vital importance of continuing to enrich collections of contemporary art throughout the country. The tour will culminate in Bristol and will be presented over two venues: Arnolfini in partnership with Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Jeremy Lewison, Arnolfini Trustee, and Tom Trevor, Arnolfini former director, provided pro bono advice to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in the acquisition process.
Focusing on socially engaged art practices in a global context, Art from Elsewhere features around 70 works by 39 internationally celebrated artists from 22 countries in a variety of media including works on paper, video, sculpture and painting and by some of the most important and culturally diverse artists working today (Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Ai Weiwei, Shilpa Gupta, and Józef Robakowski). The exhibition also features works by seminal figures in the history of conceptual art such as Robert Smithson, Ana Mendieta, and Carl Andre,and several important young voices enter British museums for the first time, such as Emily Jacir, Yto Barrada and Mohamed Bourouissa.
Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology
- 21 October 2016 — 15 January 2017
Over twenty five years, often ahead of her time, Daphne Wright has developed sculptural languages and conceptual tactics that have been quietly influential. Wright’s art is the result of a relentless curiosity into how a deep engagement with materials can explore often unspoken human preoccupations.
Casting, sound recording, film making and drawing result in series of works that examine issues such as parenting, aging and mankind’s complex relationship with animals. Wright is not afraid to embrace domestic and familial subjects in order to encourage a genuine psychological commitment from the viewer. This major solo exhibition, curated by Jo Lanyon, will present a number of key works spanning Wright’s career, considering the artist as an emotional archaeologist.
16 Narrow Quay
City of Bristol
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0117 917 2300
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0117 917 2313
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