Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966 – 1979, a touring exhibition from the Arts Council Collection, culminates in a presentation at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) on 5 April 2014. YSP is home to many seminal, open-air installations by artists including Andy Goldsworthy and David Nash among others.
Featuring the work of 24 artists and artist groups, Uncommon Ground is the most comprehensive exhibition of British Land art to date. The show questions how landscape and nature came to be key concerns of Conceptual art in Britain and explores the unique characteristics of the way Land art developed here.
Drawn primarily from the Arts Council Collection and supplemented by loans from other major UK collections as well as the artists themselves, the exhibition takes a fresh look at British art between the mid-1960s and late-1970s and includes some of the most important artists working in the UK in that period including Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Hamish Fulton, Richard Long, Anthony McCall and David Nash.
Curated by Nicholas Alfrey, (University of Nottingham) Joy Sleeman, (Slade School of Art, University of London) and Ben Tufnell, (Writer and Curator), Uncommon Ground examines the meaning Land art might have in a British context, where landscape has long been a recognised element of national art and identity.
The exhibition reveals the distinct forms that Land art took here in Britain: predominantly conceptual and ephemeral, hand-made and organic. The key strategies developed in the UK included the photographic documentation of actions, the positioning of walking and travelling as creative acts, combined with an exploration of locality and a keen awareness of rural traditions and contexts. At the same time, the term ‘landscape’ was also being questioned and transformed by artists, provoking a renewed interest in older forms of landscape art, and in historic landscapes. From being seen as something old-fashioned and redundant, landscape became the ground of radical artistic experiment.
Within the context of YSP, Uncommon Ground is complemented by a broad collection of site-specific works in the open air including the Deer Shelter Skyspace by James Turrell, the American artist whose practice has considered light and space for over 30 years; Hanging Trees, Outclosure and Shadow Stone Fold by Andy Goldsworthy; Red Slate Line by Richard Long; and several works by David Nash including growing work 49 Square and charred sculpture Black Mound, two permanent works that are new to YSP.
Artists featured in Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966 – 1979 are Roger Ackling, Keith Arnatt, Boyle Family, Thomas Joshua Cooper, Tony Cragg, Jan Dibbets, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Barry Flanagan, Hamish Fulton, Andy Goldsworthy, Antony Gormley, Susan Hiller, John Hilliard, Derek Jarman, David Lamelas, John Latham, Richard Long, Roelof Louw, Anthony McCall, Bruce McLean, Garry Fabian Miller, David Nash, Roger Palmer and David Tremlett.
A series of associated events, a new publication, with texts by Nicholas Alfrey, Joy Sleeman and Ben Tufnell, and a microsite accompany the exhibition.