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Imagined Communities

Group show at Oldham Art Gallery. 1996
Date: 27 January, 1996 until 24 March, 1996
Organiser: Andrew Patrizio, National Touring Exhibitions and Richard Hylton, Oldham Art Gallery

Imagined Communities featured the work of Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Denzil Forrester, Komar and Melamid, Giuseppe Penone, Tim Rollins + K.O.S., Yinka Shonibare, Gary Simmons and Gillian Wearing. The exhibition opened at Oldham Art Gallery, 27 January - 24 March 1996. It then  toured to John Hansard Gallery, at the University of Southampton; Firstsite at the Minories, Colchester; Walsall Museum and Art Gallery; Royal Festival Hall, London, and Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, between April 1996 and February 1997.

The exhibition was organised by Andrew Patrizio of National Touring Exhibitions, and Richard Hylton, of Oldham Art Gallery. Imagined Communities was described in its catalogue as bringing “together nine artists who work in painting, photography, sculpture, video and mixed media. With wit, irony and sensitivity, the artists adopt a variety of strategies - taking them from the studio, onto the street, to market stall, into the factory, into the nightclub, and down the digital highway - to investigate the private and public space of our existence.”

The sentiment was noted, elsewhere in the same publication, that “An increasing number of artists have made sorties into the rich territory of community, and at their best they have respected both the integrity of their own working practices and the complexity of the communities with which they collaborate. Often they succeed in  being rebellious and funny too. Part of the fascination with the topic may be seen as a response to the lingering legacy from Romanticism, which generated the idea of the artist as isolated and visionary individual, at the opposite pole from community’s sense of inclusion and participation.”

The exhibition brought together a fascinating range of artists, from London, Paris, Turin, and New York, though simultaneously, a number of the artists laid claim to links, through parentage and birth, to other geographical locations such as Nigeria and Russia. The artists themselves came from different artistic communities - Shonibare and Wearing were perhaps identified with the yBa grouping of practitioners, who were at the time beginning to take hold (and a certain control) of the British art world. Other artists, such as Denzil Forrester, were longtime practitioners for whom the process of painting was hugely important. Other artists in the exhibition came from other important international centres of art, such as Paris and New York.

The exhibition came with a hugely important catalogue in which Richard Hylton provided notes on each of the contributors, relating to their assorted approaches to the multiple notions of community.

Related items

click to show details of Imagined Communities

»  Imagined Communities

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1996

People in this exhibition + view all 11

»  Denzil Forrester

Born, 1956 in Grenada

»  Richard Hylton

Born, 1967 in England

»  Giuseppe Penone

Born, 1944 in Garessio, Italy

»  Yinka Shonibare MBE CBE RA

Born, 1962 in London, England

»  Gary Simmons

Born, 1964 in New York, New York, USA

Exhibition venues

»  Oldham Art Gallery

Oldham, United Kingdom