Falling Up: The Gravity of Art, MA Curating the Art Museum - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Falling Up: The Gravity of Art, MA Curating the Art Museum

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Falling Up: The Gravity of Art

23 June - 4 September 2011

An MA Curating the Art Museum exhibition
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Cornelia Parker Neither From Nor Towards, 1993, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The Artist
Cornelia Parker Neither From Nor Towards, 1993, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The Artist

FALLING UP: The Gravity of Art explores the theme of gravity in art through a selection of historical and contemporary works from The Courtauld Gallery and The Arts Council Collection. Through a series of striking juxtapositions, the exhibition will reveal artists’ ongoing fascination with notions of gravity, from the 16th to the 21st century.

Gravity acts as a compelling and ineluctable force which affects all objects and beings. Yet art both past and present abounds in attempts to defy its pull. Presenting paintings, sculpture, photographs and engravings by Peter Paul Rubens, Auguste Rodin, Cornelia Parker and Wolfgang Tillmans, amongst others, the exhibition investigates the delicate relationship between weight and weightlessness, flying and falling, earth and sky.

Daedalus and Icarus
Giuseppe (Cavalier d’Arpino) Cesari (c. 1568 – 1640)
Daedalus and Icarus, about 1600
Chalk (red and black) on paper
45.3 x 33.4 cm
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Hamish Fulton (b. 1946) Rock Fall Echo Dust. Baffin Island (from portofolio Fourteen Works), 1988 Offset lithograph 104.2 x 88 cm Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist, The Paragon Press, London and Maureen Paley, London
Hamish Fulton (b. 1946)
Rock Fall Echo Dust. Baffin Island (from portofolio Fourteen Works), 1988
Offset lithograph
104.2 x 88 cm
Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist, The Paragon Press, London and Maureen Paley, London
Sisyphus (recto)
Guercino (1591 – 1666)
Sisyphus,1636
Pen and ink on paper
23.2 x 19.2 cm
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Shirazeh Houshiary (b. 1955) Cube of Man, 1992 Lead, gold leaf and wood 283 x 65 x 65 cm Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist, Lisson Gallery, London.
Shirazeh Houshiary (b. 1955)
Cube of Man, 1992
Lead, gold leaf and wood
283 x 65 x 65 cm
Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist, Lisson Gallery, London.
Cornelia Parker Neither From Nor Towards, 1993, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The Artist
Cornelia Parker Neither From Nor Towards, 1993, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The Artist
Nijinsky (Study)
Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917)
Nijinsky (Study), Circa 1912
Bronze casting
18.8 cm
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Descent from the Cross
Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)
The Descent from the Cross, 1611
Oil on panel
115.2 x 76.2 cm
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Building of the Tower of Babel, The
After Jan Snellinck (c. 1544 – 1638)
Building of the Tower of Babel, 1674
Engraving
23 x 30.7 cm
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Confusion of Tongues, The (The Tower of Babel being struck down)
After Jan Snellinck (c. 1544 – 1638)
Tower of Babel being struck down, 1674
Engraving
23.1 x 31.1 cm
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Clare Strand (b. 1973) Aerial Suspension, 2009 Black and white Lambda fibre based print 102 x 126 cm edition of 5 © the artist, Brancolini Grimaldi, London
Clare Strand (b. 1973)
Aerial Suspension, 2009
Black and white Lambda fibre based print
102 x 126 cm
edition of 5
© the artist, Brancolini Grimaldi, London
Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) Dan, 2008 C-type print 40 x 30 cm Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund. Partial gift of the artist and Maureen Paley, London
Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968)
Dan, 2008
C-type print
40 x 30 cm
Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund. Partial gift of the artist and Maureen Paley, London
Fall of the Rebel Angels (recto)
Jacob de Wit (1695 – 1754) Fall of the Rebel Angels (recto), Circa 1751 Watercolour on paper 19 x 23 cm © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Ascension
Jacob de Wit (1695 – 1754)
Ascension, Circa 1751
Watercolour on paper
18.7 x 22.6 cm
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

The exhibition has been co-curated by the nine students on the MA Programme, Curating the Art Museum, at The Courtauld Institute of Art:

Svetlana Bountakidou / Aryn Conway / Amy-Rose Enskat / Sarah Fletcher / Christopher Huynh / Stephanie Lugon / Charlotte Proctor Smith / Alissa Schapiro / Rachel Walker

The students were given an open brief to bring together two very different collections for an exhibition in The Courtauld Gallery. The Arts Council Collection is a national collection of modern and contemporary British art, with over 7,500 works in a diverse range of media. The Courtauld Gallery’s collection reaches from the early Renaissance to Modernist works of the 20th century, and is famous for its outstanding Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. After researching and exploring both collections, looking for compelling connections between historic and contemporary works of art, the curators arrived at the theme of gravity, which is realised as Falling Up: The Gravity of Art.

Looking at a scale model of the exhibition, in order to plan the arrangement of works.
Looking at a scale model of the exhibition, in order to plan the arrangement of works.
Testing out wall colours for the exhibition space, looking for a colour that suits both the historical and contemporary works of art.
Testing out wall colours for the exhibition space, looking for a colour that suits both the historical and contemporary works of art.
Deciding upon a suitable hanging height for Peter Paul Rubens’s Descent From The Cross.
Deciding upon a suitable hanging height for Peter Paul Rubens’s Descent From The Cross.
Laying out the bricks for Cornelia Parker’s Neither From Nor Towards, as the art handlers begin to suspend them from a mesh attached to the ceiling.
Laying out the bricks for Cornelia Parker’s Neither From Nor Towards, as the art handlers begin to suspend them from a mesh attached to the ceiling.
Positioning some of the prints and watercolours from The Courtauld Collection.
Positioning some of the prints and watercolours from The Courtauld Collection.
Finishing touches – installing the wall text and introduction panel.
Finishing touches – installing the wall text and introduction panel.
The student curatorial team ready for the private view.
The student curatorial team ready for the private view.

Comments from the visitors' book

“Very interesting and beautifully done. A true highlight.”

“Wonderful concept quite beautifully presented. The juxtaposition of styles and periods works brilliantly and the Cornelia Parker is a thing of beauty”

“I loved this little gem of an exhibition. Thank you and well done.”

“Excellent idea. Makes me look again at familiar paintings and introduces some new ones”

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