Aquatopia – Nottingham Contemporary

Nottingham Contemporary - Aquatopia

Nottingham Contemporary’s striking green and gold panels greet visitors as they head towards the Lace Market area. Designed by Caruso St. John architects, the gallery is subtle and fearlessly modern but still compliments the Victorian hinterland.

The latest exhibition follows in a long line of successful and challenging shows. For director and curator Alex Farquharson this is a project of personal significance, something that he has been planning for years.

Nottingham Contemporary - Aquatopia

Aquatopia looks at the ocean as a completely alien space, one that covers 70% of our planet’s surface. It is an environment that we can’t exist in and one that holds more mystery than the surrounding galaxies – beautiful, frightening and completely unforgiving.

The exhibition dives into the deep, confronting our fears and expertly positioning artefact next to artwork, historic with contemporary. Infinite imaginative interpretations of the inter-relationships and their narratives are achieved.

Nottingham Contemporary - Aquatopia

Nottingham Contemporary - Aquatopia

Highlights include – a Japanese print of cephalopod cunnilingus, Turner’s Sun Rise with Sea Monsters and free-diving South Korean women, alongside Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka’s glass models of marine creatures and the Otolith Group’s film Hydra Decapita, sound-tracked by electro pioneers Drexciya.

It’s a literary exhibition, minus the words – art as sentences, carefully constructed and edited.

Nottingham Contemporary - AquatopiaNottingham Contemporary - AquatopiaNottingham Contemporary - Aquatopia

Nottingham Contemporary, Andy Taylor Smith, 2009.
The Otolith Group, Hydra Decapita, 2010, film still, Courtesy of The Otolith Group
Juergen Teller, Bjork, Spaghetti Nero, Venice, 2007, Courtesy of Juergen Teller
Mikhail Karikis, Haenyeos women at work, sound and video installation, 2012, Image courtesy the artist
Lucian Freud, Still Life with Squid and Sea Urchin, 1949, Courtesy Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston
Katsushika Hokusai, Tako to ama: Pearl Diver and Two Octopi, Illustration from Kinoe no Komatsu: Young Pine Saplings (1814), Courtesy Durham University
JMW Turner, Sunrise with Sea Monsters, c.1845, © Tate, London 2012

-Megan Conery

Aquatopia: The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep is on display at Nottingham Contemporary from 20 July – 22 September 2013