News - I Want! I Want!

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s most ambitious exhibition exploring art and technology through contemporary art practice dating from 1995 to the present day, I Want! I Want! opens in April...

I Want! I Want! Art and Technology, opening at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on the 1 April, explores work from the Arts Council Collection by artists that have been influenced by technology as it has developed and evolved over the last 20 years. The exhibition includes 27 artists and collectives and over 30 artworks, principally selected from the Arts Council Collection, including film, sculpture and paintings. Each of the 27 artists’ approach to their practice is different, presenting varying views of the world and culture around us.

The show presents contemporary artists’ use of technology in the production (using various media including computer animation, videos, computer graphics, audio, photography, gaming technology), presentation and engagement of their work (films, moving image, sculptures, paintings, interactive games, drawings). The artworks themselves tackle a range of themes including human relationships, surveillance and the habits of modern society.

The works featured in the exhibition have been principally selected from the Arts Council Collection, as part of the Collection’s National Partnership Programme. The four partners include the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; Birmingham Museums Trust; The Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Over the next two years the galleries will deliver a year-round programme of exhibitions and events enabling even more people to see and enjoy works from the Collection.

The works in I Want! I Want! date from the mid-1990s to the present day and include significant contemporary artists, such as Rachel Maclean, Julian Opie, Ed Atkins and Daria Martin. The exhibition also includes works from Birmingham Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, artists and private collectors.

Works in the exhibition include:

• Rachel Maclean’s Feed Me (2015) – a surreal, colourful, hyper-modern 60 minute film, where Maclean plays all the characters, which takes a satirical look at the preoccupations of contemporary society. Maclean will be representing Scotland at the Venice Biennial this year.
• A computer animation by Julian Opie, This is Fiona (2000) of his peer, British artist Fiona Rae, incorporating the simple, black outlines and the solid planes of colour that have become a trademark of Opie’s approach.
• Portrait of C.L. (third version) (2006) a playful oversized sculpture of a pineapple by Toby Ziegler is made using computer aided design to create the 3 dimensional forms of interlocking planes of plywood.

Ryan Gander, the artist curator of Night in the Museum, the first in the series of Arts Council Collection National Partner exhibitions at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, will be represented in the gallery by the audio work The First Grand National (2003), alongside Brian Griffiths, a competitor in the Birmingham’s Big Art Project, with Untitled (1998), a representation of a hi-tech control panel made from everyday domestic materials.

The exhibition’s title is inspired by the etching I Want! I Want! by the artist William Blake, depicting a man aspiring to travel to the moon over two hundred years ago. It is a visionary work of imagination and ambition that is shared by the artists in the show that celebrates what they find compelling – turning an idea into reality. 

Deborah Smith, curator, Arts Council Collection, National Partners Programme, Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Technology is now an inescapable part of our everyday lives and it has made significant impact on the way many artists explore their practice and present their work. This exhibition presents art from the Arts Council Collection and other collections that are very relevant to the changes in contemporary society and it is a privilege to be sharing this with visitors at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.”

Jill Constantine, Head of the Arts Council Collection added “We are delighted to be working with Birmingham Museums Trust on their second Arts Council Collection National Partners exhibition, ‘I Want! I Want!’ brings together some of the most innovative and exciting works from the Arts Council Collection by a number of the most prominent names in British Art. The show explores the way artists working in Britain have approached and responded to new technologies in their practices over the past 20 years”

Totality by Katie Paterson, Thinkspace, Thinktank, 27 May - 1 October 2017

Alongside I Want! I Want! Art and Technology, Birmingham Museums will also be presenting the third of the Trust’s Arts Council Collection National Partner exhibitions, Katie Patterson’s Totality (2015). Open 27 May - 1 October 2017 at Thinkspace, Thinktank, Birmingham’s Science Museum.

Sited next to Thinktank’s Planetarium, Totality (2015), made up of 10,000 images of the solar eclipse will illuminate and sparkle from an oversize rotating mirror ball. The collected images include the oldest found drawing of a solar eclipse from 1778, early 20th century photographs, as well as contemporary images sourced from the internet, and from the most technologically advanced telescopes.

Images - Top - Rachel Maclean - Feed Me, 2015. Courtesy the artist Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London

Above - Katie Patterson’s Totality
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