Aquatopia is the new show at Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery (locally known as 'tempreh). The subtitle of the show is 'The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep', and to be honest I think it is one of the BEST shows that the gallery has done.
What I think I like about it most is that it combines contemporary art with historical material - putting things into context.
It's also a dense show - the galleries feel FULL: and in a white space, all too often the shows have felt thin, feeble, scarcely enough content to fill one room let alone four.
So we get a show juxtaposing Turner's sea monsters alongside Odilon Redon's illustrative visions; we get sea squids of various shapes, sizes and textures (including Spartacus Chetwynd's disconcerting 'enactment' of Hokusai's "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife", itself a pretty alarming set of imagery), and we get the smooth sculptural flows of Hepworth sat just opposite a 19th century diving helmet. You get to see Marcel Broodthaer's mussel shells and various of Christian Holstad's sea-squid 'creations' draped around the gallery ---- each called "This is not a life-saving device". Well indeed.
To accompany the show there is also the usual variety of talks and other events - films screenings, discussions, documentary presentations, workshops etc. Everything from the Lovecraftian legends to viewing the deep sea world, Hollywood B-movie sea monsters to ocean soundscapes.
It's a bizarre show in many ways - especially in land-locked Nottingham - but it's worth catching here. For those who want a more 'apt' setting, an expanded version will be shown at Tate St Ives later in the year.
You should come to 'tempreh.
And at least I have broken the bad pattern of not blogging. I'm getting rubbish at this aren't I though?!