Testament is staged in response to monuments having become a focus of public debate as the UK navigates the seismic social shifts of a pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, environmental crises and the impact of Brexit. Artists have been invited to make proposals that consider what is at stake in tearing down and erecting monuments, and what it might mean to rethink the idea of the monument. Are they defunct, illusory statements of permanence, continuity, and manifestations of power? Whose narratives do they preserve, and whose do they suppress? Can they still play a vital role in mediating communal grief and providing a locus for memory? Is there a space for them to have a new life?
The exhibition features artists resident in the UK, or those who are abroad but understand the UK’s complex relationship with the past and present. Their contributions seek to magnify a multitude of conversations, from discussions about decolonising institutions, fallism, dislocation, memorialising, remembering and forgetting, to our current relationship with an approach to history, and ideas arising from some very intimate and personal responses. It includes critical and celebratory positions, and conversations about coping and surviving, ranging from the individual to the universal and the local to the national.
Submissions incorporate notes and sketches, drawings, poems, instructions, installations, sculptures, paintings, films, and performances. A full public programme will accompany the exhibition.
The artists are: Saelia Aparicio, Phyllida Barlow, Alvaro Barrington, JJ Chan, Monster Chetwynd, Rabiya Choudhry, Jeremy Deller, Adham Faramawy, Navine G Khan-Dossos, Ryan Gander, Carl Gent, Holly Hendry, Roger Hiorns, Sam Keogh, Scott Sam, Phillip Lai, Lawrence Lek, Ghislaine Leung, Lloyd Corporation, Paul Maheke, Stuart Middleton, Oscar Murillo, Nashashibi/Skaer, Olu Ogunnaike, Hardeep Pandhal, Yuri Pattison, Elizabeth Price, Laure Prouvost, Aaron Ratajczyk, Tanoa Sasraku, SERAFINE1369, Tai Shani, Peter Spanjer, Jay Tan, Tenant of Culture, Edward Thomasson, Jala Wahid, Mark Wallinger, Dominic Watson, Alfie White, Gray Wielebinski, Bedwyr Williams, Cerith Wyn Evans, Zadie Xa & Benito Mayor Vallejo, Abbas Zahedi.
Testament press release