No New Thing Under the Sun
21 October 2010—9 January 2011
Seb Patane, 'Mdlle. Adeline Genée' (detail), 2006. Ink on printed paper. © the artist. Image courtesy Maureen Paley, London. Collection of Hubert Zandberg, London. In the Tennant Gallery
New: Video interview with curator Gabriel Coxhead
No New Thing Under the Sun brings together selected historical pieces from the Royal Academy Collection with works by contemporary artists. Around 50 works spanning the last 500 years are featured.
Inspired by the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, this exhibition is about time, transience, and human vanity; about the grandeur of life, and the inevitability of death. Though not a religious or dogmatic show, the exhibition is a response to the scripture and aims to evoke the book’s mood. In offering a pause for consideration and reflection on the human condition, the exhibition allows viewers to connect with the sorts of simple truths that are overlooked in our hectic world, and ends by suggesting a sense of joy at being alive in the here and now.
Mixing together exhibits by contemporary artists with carefully selected drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and paintings from the RA Collection, the show offers a wide variety of ideas to do with life and death: from the cynical to the celebratory, from the rational to the magical, from the astonishingly gruesome to the tenderly poignant. Ultimately it points to a broader philosophy about the nature of art itself, posing the question: can there be anything new under the sun?
Artists featured in the exhibition include: Marius Bercea, Pavel Buchler, Patrick Caulfield, John Constable, Tacita Dean, Gilad Efrat, Tracey Emin, Roland Flexner, James Gillray, Peter Harrap, Cantemir Hauşi, William Hogarth, Idris Khan, Natasha Kissell, Ciprian Mureşan, Eadweard Muybridge, Christopher Orr, Samuel Palmer, Seb Patane, GB Piranesi, Muntean/Rosenblum, Victor Răcătău, Gideon Rubin, Daniel Silver, George Stubbs, Amikam Toren, Julian Trevelyan, JMW Turner, and Mona Vătămanu & Florin Tudor.
Curated by Gabriel Coxhead, with assistant curator Peter Harrap, in collaboration with Nick Savage, Head of Collections and Library at the Royal Academy.
The artists in No New Thing Under the Sun have been kindly supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, the Ratiu Family Foundation and the Embassy of Israel, London.
Tuesday- Sunday 10am – 6pm
Free curator's talk
Tuesday 2 November
An introduction to No New Thing Under the Sun by exhibition curator Gabriel Coxhead
3.30pm in the Tennant Gallery
All welcome. No booking necessary.
The Tennant Gallery is one of the John Madejski Fine Rooms
The rest of this suite of magnificently-restored 18th-century rooms can be visited on free tours. Find out more.