RBS Gallery - Royal Society of British Sculptors

The RBS Gallery is an exhibition space with an annual programme of sculpture shows from the traditional to the cutting edge.

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Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Boyle Family, Contemporary Archaeology: The World Series, Gotland Site 1968 / 2015

  • 4 June — 17 July 2015 *on now

Private View: 3 June 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Artists’ Talk: 17 June 6.30 – 8.30 pm. Talk at 7 pm

The aim of the World Series is direct and ostensibly simple: to locate, examine and present 1,000 randomly selected sites from the Earth’s surface. Viewing themselves as contemporary archaeologists, Boyle Family set out to faithfully document these sites by excluding stylistic, compositional or theoretical concerns, thereby removing their subjectivity.

The World Series started when the artists invited friends and members of the public to fire darts while blindfolded at the largest map of the world they could find, first in August 1968 at their Shepherd’s Bush flat and then during an exhibition which opened at the new Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) premises in 1969. At the time, Mark Boyle declared, ‘it is a lifetime project. It could take 25 years’. The reality is that it has taken over 40 years during which time World Series sites have been completed in The Hague, followed by others in Nyord in Denmark, the frozen wastes of the Vesteralen islands, Jottenheimen mountains and forests in Norway as well as Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, Scotland, Spain and now Sweden.

The Gotland site is in the sea, just off the coast near Lickershamn, a site which poses logistical challenges. For the installation, the Boyle Family have created a film work of the surface of the sea at the site, a large Elemental Study of the main rock type of the area which is limestone and electron microphotographs of plant and animal life found at the site, physical response studies of the artists as well as a film of life at the harbour of Lickershamn.

About the Artists

The Boyle Family originated in the collaboration between Mark Boyle and Joan Hills which began in the early 1960s when they made their mark on the London art scene with performance events and sculptures. Their children, Sebastian and Georgia Boyle became increasingly involved and important in the creative process by the end of the 1960s and in 1985 they adopted the collective title Boyle Family. Following the death of Mark Boyle in 2005, Joan, Sebastian and Georgia have continued to work and exhibit collectively.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Free Admission. To attend the Private View and/or Artists' Talk please RSVP to Verity, invite@rbs.org.uk, or on 020 7373 8615



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.
HOLD by Julia Vance as exhibited in front of the Norwegian Parliment

Napoleon Garden 2015: HOLD by Julia Vance MRBS

  • Until 1 November 2015 *on now
  • From 21 May 2015

To celebrate the work of female sculptors for the fourth year of the collaboration between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Royal British Society of Sculptors, we are delighted to present HOLD, a work by Norwegian contemporary artist Julia Vance, to be unveiled in Napoleon Garden, Holland Park on Wednesday 20 May 2015.

Carved in white Italian Carrara marble, at first glance the smooth precisely defined planes and hollowed interior of HOLD seem like a caress of benevolent arms. Yet on further observation details start to take shape and the letters of the word ‘HOLD’ reveal themselves. Transformed from the two-dimensional into the solid blocks and forms of sculpture, Vance gives a single word a physical tactile and expressive body; an embodiment of the contextual meaning expressed in physical form. You can read HOLD with your body, you can touch the word, or you can even crawl inside it and the word can hold you. Both classical in form and conceptual in expression, Vance’s work effortlessly highlights the complexity and depth of a single word by means of a form of sculptural poetry.

Having begun her career as a calligrapher, words are at the heart of Vance’s oeuvre. Often reflecting on issues of identity and a sense of belonging Vance’s sculptures offer a moment of pause from the constant bombardment of information we are presented with daily. Speaking of her work Vance comments, “We use language to express, understand, and shape a thought. I want to clarify that unexpected thought, or to grasp the multiple delicate nuances of what a single word holds.”

Julia Vance (born 1968) is a Norwegian sculptor. Having started working in stone in 1992, Vance has received numerous large scale commissions and been the recipient of several grants, including the Norwegian State’s 3-Year Artist Grant in 2005. She has twice had sculptures exhibited in front of the Norwegian Parliament and was recently invited to join Norway Central Bank’s Coin Design Advisory Committee. Vance was also recently featured as the main focus of the documentary, The Bridge to Tuscany which focused on Norwegian artists who have travelled to Italy over the past 100 years to make their sculptures, and which was broadcast on national Norwegian television.

Vance has exhibited in England, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Belgium, Italy, Holland and the United Arab Emirates. Her most recent solo exhibition in Norway took place in Bærum Kunstforening in 2014, showing over 30 sculptures in Italian marble, along with work in granite, alabaster, glass and bronze. Her work is represented in private collections throughout Europe and the US. The artist shares her time between Oslo and Johansen Monumenthuggeri in Norway and the internationally renowned marble carving studio Studio Sem in Pietrasanta, Italy; she can be reached at www.juliavance.no.

This exhibition is kindly supported by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Royal Norwegian Embassy London, and the Royal British Society of Sculptors.

Napoleon Garden, Holland Park, London, W8 6LU from 21 May to 2 November 2015
Open daily from 7.30 am until 30 minutes before dusk

Suitable for

  • Any age


Napoleon Garden
Holland Park
W8 6LU



RBS Gallery - Royal Society of British Sculptors
Royal Society of British Sculptors
108 Brompton Road
Greater London

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020 7244 7788

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