After over 3 years of being closed for extensive redevelopment, The Atkinson, Sefton’s multi-million pound cultural centre launches its exhibition programme with – Love Stories: Romance, Obsession & Heartbreak.
The exhibition which begins in September is all about love in its many forms, and presents stunning works from The Atkinson’s own collections alongside dramatic and provocative works by leading contemporary artists including Tracey Emin and Jordon Baseman, in an ambitious and surprising exhibition.
Love Stories explores the universal experience of love and loss in five stages: flirtation and courtship; the choice; marriage; obsession and betrayal and contented love. A broad spectrum of art is used to chart this journey, from traditional oil paintings to contemporary installations and moving image.
The Gallery’s refurbishment has created beautifully extensive, well-proportioned exhibition spaces in which to present the collections, including John Collier’s epic ‘Lilith’ and ‘Tannhäuser in the Venusberg’, William Open’s seductive ‘The Eastern Gown’ and William Roberts’ flirtatious setting, ‘The Tea Room’. Plus ceramic Antony and Cleopatra, Cupid and Psyche and new acquisitions which include a set of digital artworks by Tracey Emin based on her neon Valentine cards.
Stephen Whittle, Museums and Galleries Manager said:
‘Love is a universal theme and ‘Love Stories’ will have something to appeal to everyone. At the heart of the exhibition will be our most well loved painting of ‘Lilith’ the mythic first wife of Adam, painted by John Collier.
Among the many loans to the exhibition, we will be showing William Roberts’ ‘The Garden of Eden’ which caused a scandal when it was first put on display in 1928 and was removed from the gallery walls on the instruction of the town mayor. “
The exhibition will be supplemented with artworks loaned from museums around the country and by the Arts Council England. Albert Moore’s major painting ‘The Loves of the Winds and Season’ (Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery) reveals the eternal cycles of life. Despite its glorious colours and optimistic message, it was Moore’s last picture, painted from his death-bed. In contrast, Anya Gallaccio’s installation ‘can love remember the question and the answer’ is one of the intriguing contemporary works loaned by the Arts Council. It challenges visitors to ponder the significance of its fading gerbera flowers.
Emma Anderson, The Atkinson’s first Director, said:
“Love Stories puts love at the centre of The Atkinson’s programme this autumn, and we hope it will stir emotions amongst our visitors. For the first time, The Atkinson’s nationally significant fine and decorative art collections can be displayed in our outstanding new galleries. And Love Stories shows how we mean to go on, bringing to Sefton important historical and contemporary art that connects with and excites people across the borough as well as visitors to Southport.
Love Stories is an outstanding exhibition with an exciting public programme, which offers a rich and engaging visitor experience. It is hugely exciting to be finally reopening The Atkinson’s galleries to the public after so many years of hard work by many people who have held on to a vision for culture in Sefton. This is just the beginning for The Atkinson and for Sefton.”
If love’s not your thing, The Atkinson is also exhibiting highlights from its permanent collection, including 17th century portraits, paintings from the Northern school and an exhibition examining the use of light.
At The Atkinson we are looking forward to re-opening the gallery and reminding people what a superb collection Sefton has to offer. We would like everybody to be able to contribute their own love stories and images to the exhibition by Twitter and Facebook, or see and use images from the exhibition on Pinterest.
The exhibition features new research by guest curator Dr Amanda Draper and an interpretive project funded by Leeds University and led by Kevin Laycock, Lecturer in Design.
The exhibition runs from Saturday 7 September until April 2014.