Show image caption Anya Gallaccio, The Inner Space Within, 2008, chestnut tree, bolts, stainless steel. Installation view, Camden Art Centre, London. © Anya Gallaccio. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo: Andy Keate.

Press Release: Anya Gallaccio 'preserve'

Posted in – ExhibitionNews

Turner Contemporary is pleased to announce preserve, the largest survey exhibition to date of British artist Anya Gallaccio. Opening in Autumn 2024, it will span three decades of Gallaccio’s radical practice, restaging several iconic works in addition to a new site-specific commission. The exhibition will reveal her consistent rethinking of the relationship between art and the environment by presenting works that connect with Kent’s natural heritage. 

Due to the temporal nature of her work, much of Gallaccio’s practice is best known through documentary photographs and memory. This exhibition will introduce her sculptures and large-scale installations to a new generation engaged in environmental sustainability and preserving fragile ecosystems.  

Renowned for her innovative use of organic, ephemeral materials such as ice, apples, flowers, grass, salt, trees and even chocolate, and for her explorations of transformation and impermanence, Gallaccio has reshaped our understanding of contemporary sculpture. While her practice bears a formal relationship to artists associated with Minimalism and the Arte Povera movement, such as Giovanni Anselmo, and the unconventional and subversive use of materials seen in the works of Lynda Benglis, Gallaccio’s work is characterised by a profound interest in the momentary over the monumental. Her installations, often incorporating materials that naturally transform, decay, or grow over the duration of an exhibition, have redefined what sculpture can be. They embrace the unpredictable results this process brings, inviting viewers to contemplate themes of temporality, change, and humanity’s relationship with nature.

Inspired by Kent’s rich agricultural heritage as ‘The Garden of England’, renowned for its abundant orchards, hop farms and farming traditions, this exhibition will highlight Gallaccio’s longstanding exploration of our complex relationships with the cycles of the natural world and the intersections of labour, production and consumption. Gallaccio will transform local materials into mediations on ecology and the ephemeral nature of life.

The exhibition will premiere an ambitious new commission by Gallaccio, engaging with Kent’s famed White Cliffs and chalk landscapes. This monumental new work will reveal how chalk is integral not only to the region’s natural heritage but also to its labour traditions, quarried to produce lime for construction and used as fertiliser on fields. Gallaccio’s choice of this foundational material resonates with Turner Contemporary’s seaside location, surrounded by protected marine chalk beds, and the bid to establish a Cross-Channel UNESCO Global Geopark across the Kent Downs and neighbouring areas in France. 

Alongside this site-specific installation, the exhibition will see Gallaccio restage several historic works, including her celebrated wall-based gerbera sculpture and a reconstruction of a felled tree spanning one of the first-floor galleries.  

Complementing Gallaccio’s exhibition, Turner Contemporary has developed an extensive school programme in partnership with the artist. This programme, titled An Apple a Day, aims to explore Kent’s countryside, heritage, and history through the lens of the apple and county’s apple orchards. Inspired by the work of Californian chef and food activist Alice Waters, Gallaccio seeks to embed nature across everyday teaching in primary schools.  

Students from across Kent will visit the national fruit collection at Brogdale to learn about apple growing. They will plant a new orchard designed by Gallaccio at Lees Court Estate near Faversham, using apple trees donated by Creating Nature’s Corridor. Schools participating in the project will also visit the gallery and receive a tour of the exhibition from the artist. This initiative’s legacy will be a new school resource for teachers, enabling them to teach Key Stage 2 curriculum subjects using apples and Kent’s history and geography. The resource will be shared with every primary school in Kent.  

In collaboration with Kent Downs National Landscape, DEFRA and Lees Court Estate, this project underscores Turner Contemporary’s commitment to sustainability and celebrates the relationship between art, ecology, and agriculture in Kent. By engaging students with the rich heritage of the Kent Downs’ apple orchards, the programme fosters a deeper appreciation for nature and promotes environmental stewardship from an early age. 

Anya Gallaccio said: “I am invested in process and material without a fixed outcome in mind. By restaging a selection of my works in Margate they are regenerated within the context of Kent, its landscape and industries.”  

Clarrie Wallis, Director of Turner Contemporary, said: “Anya Gallaccio: preserve offers a well-deserved spotlight on an important artist. Drawing inspiration from the Kent landscape, the show brings together rarely seen large-scale sculptures crafted from organic materials like flowers and chalk. It allows viewers to experience Gallaccio’s profound sensitivity to nature’s sensory and ephemeral qualities. Her works create a thought-provoking dialogue between formal concerns and a deeper engagement with the cycles, processes, and materials of the natural world.” 

Anya Gallaccio: preserve is curated by Melissa Blanchflower, Senior Curator, Turner Contemporary. 

preserve is the first in Turner Contemporary’s new Art+Environment programme strand, where curatorial research is generously supported by the John Ellerman Foundation. 

Anya Gallaccio has been commissioned by AIDS Memory UK (AMUK) to create the AIDS Memorial in London, located on South Crescent, Store Street in Fitzrovia. Taking the form of a felled tree, the memorial will offer a space for remembrance and solidarity, commemorating those affected by HIV/AIDS in the past, present and the future. 

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

Anya Gallaccio: preserve at Turner Contemporary from 28 September 2024 to 12 January 2025.  

The exhibition is generously supported by Thomas Dane Gallery, Henry Moore Foundation and Alexandra and Guy Halamish. Additional support comes from the Exhibition Supporters’ Circle: Helen van der Meij-Tcheng, Ivor Braka Ltd, and further supporters who wish to remain anonymous. The learning project ‘An Apple a Day’ is funded by Farming in Protected Landscapes programme from DEFRA, the Kent Downs National Landscape (Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), with an additional grant from The Lunaria Trust. The exhibition was shortlisted for the Freelands Award 2022. Lees Court Estate and Creating Nature’s Corridors are Project Partners and In-Kind Supporters. Turner Contemporary thanks our public funders, Kent County Council and Arts Council England, for their continued support. 

 

Anya Gallaccio Biography 

Anya Gallaccio (born 1963, Paisley) studied at Kingston Polytechnic, London (1985) and Goldsmiths College, London (1988). She was Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego (2008–2024). Selected exhibitions and commissions include: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2019); Lindisfarne Castle, National Trust, Berwick-upon-Tweed (2018); The Contemporary Austin, Austin (2017); Whitworth Gallery, Manchester (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego (2015); Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh (2014); Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2009); Sculpture Center, New York (2006) and Ikon, Birmingham (2003) amongst others. Her works are held in public collections including: Arts Council, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Tate, London; and Seattle Art Museum, Seattle. In 2003 Anya was nominated for the Turner Prize at Tate Britain, London. She is currently the Kenneth Armitage Fellow 2023–2025 and she lives and works between London and San Diego. 

 

About Turner Contemporary   

Turner Contemporary is one of the UK’s leading art galleries. Founded to celebrate JMW Turner’s connection to Margate in 2001, the David Chipperfield designed gallery opened in 2011. Our work extends beyond showcasing world-class exhibitions to driving the social and economic regeneration of Margate and East Kent and transforming lives in one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

Since it opened, Turner Contemporary has welcomed over 4.1 million visits, put over £80 million back into the Kent economy, and connected with thousands of people from the local community through our world-class programme. 

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