Contemporary art and national heritage brought together in new exhibition

Landmark Trust’s pop-up gallery at the Old Truman Brewery at Spitalfields. Pic: Susana Bessa

Inspiring Landmarks, the first art exhibition hosted by the Landmark Trust, the charity which champions neglected and disregarded historic buildings and opens them to the public for rent,  is designed to open a debate on the role of contemporary art and heritage in everyday life.

The exhibition at the charity’s gallery space at the Old Truman Brewery at Spitalfields includes work by ceramicist Prue Cooper and artists Kurt Jackson and Ed Klutz as well as a series of talks by artists, curators and historians. The Trust says  the exhibition is aimed at asking questions about heritage and whether art can play a role in highlighting its importance.

The Trust says the artists involved have been entrusted with the responsibility to display the importance of tradition, of community and how we define the “sense of place,” something which Jackson, a painter whose canvases reflect history, says he is searching for in the culmination of his work.

Cornish Rainforest by Kurt Jackson, 2014 Pic: Landmark Trust

Caroline Stanford, Landmark’s Historian and Head of Engagement, said: “Landmark’s exceptional buildings have always inspired writers, artists and musicians.”

Cooper said: “Staying in a Landmark is several experiences all wrapped together – friendship and the sharing of simple pleasures, a sense of common purpose, of tradition refreshed for a modern age, and the power of humane surroundings. What a marvelous opportunity to be given – to translate some of that onto a series of dishes for this celebratory exhibition.”

Belmont by Prue Cooper, 2017 Pic: Landmark Trust

The work on show takes the past and brings it into the present with renewed vision. Robert Hewison, cultural historian from Oxford, said: “The heritage industry does not probe the past – it pacifies it. It’s up to artists to counter that.”

“You should be invited to interrogate the past, not just celebrate it”, Hewison continued.

Dame Liz Forgan, former chair of the Arts Council added: “We don’t have enough stories and it’s artists that need to tell those stories”.

Over the course of six days, visitors are invited to witness the “interplay between authority and community” in the words of curator Frances Guy, currently researching contemporary art in heritage sites at Northumbria University.

Along with “the artists’ ability to intervene”  the “powerful thing in this interaction of heritage with contemporary art” is the visitors’ participation, she added.

Inspiring Landmarks exhibition. Pic: Landmark Trust

The exhibition will be on until July 4 at 8 Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, Spitalfields.

For more details and information,, or its twitter account.

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