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In My Shoes, a new exhibition from the Arts Council Collection, to open at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

06 Feb 2018

Art and the Self since the 1990s
An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition

Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
30 March–17 June 2018 followed by a national tour
The Arts Council Collection’s new national touring exhibition, In My Shoes, opens at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 30 March 2018. The exhibition explores the ways in which UK-based artists have represented themselves in their work since the 1990s, and features works by more than 25 artists including Jananne Al-Ani, Tracey Emin, Ryan Gander, Emma Hart, Michael Landy, Sarah Lucas, Rachel MacLean, Jonathan Monk, Grayson Perry, Marc Quinn, Donald Rodney, Veronica Ryan, Gavin Turk, Mark Wallinger, Gillian Wearing, Bedwyr Williams and Jesse Wine.

Self-portraiture has provided a source of inspiration to artists across time, and in recent years many artists have challenged and expanded the genre by incorporating action, performance and narrative. Encompassing a range of media including film, photography and sculpture, In My Shoes offers an impressive survey of these dynamic contemporary approaches, presenting major works from the Arts Council Collection alongside key loans from other UK collections. The exhibition also seeks to reflect the widespread interest in self-expression that extends beyond the confines of the art world. The rise of the ‘selfie’ in contemporary culture and the construction of digital identities through social media provide a pertinent cultural context.
This exhibition offers a timely opportunity to consider the legacies of the so-called ‘Young British Artists’, who received international attention for their confrontational and often self-referential works. Major works from this period are represented, including a selection of Sarah Lucas’ iconic and assertive photographic self-portraits from 1990-1998 and Tracey Emin’s The Simple Truth (1993), an early blanket piece featuring the appliquéd words ‘Tracey Emin Here To Stay.’ Stitched defiantly by Emin in her hotel room on an early trip to the US, the work is a physical expression of the artist’s intention to establish herself in an overcrowded art world.

A number of the works in the exhibition investigate different approaches to performance and role playing, including Gavin Turk’s large photographic triptych, Oi! (1998), which references Turk’s legendary performance as a drunk at the opening of the Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997.

Many artists represented in the show have used self-representation to convey a range of ideas concerning identity, community and empathy. Jananne Al-Ani employs the conventions of early photographic studio portraiture to explore her own identity as well as those of her mother and sisters in ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ clothing. Family relationships are also explored in Stewart Home’s photographic series, Becoming (M)other (2004), in which the artist has layered portraits of himself and his late mother, Julia Callan-Thompson, into poignant unified images. Bedwyr Williams’ witty and participatory installation Walk a mile in my shoes (2006, Saatchi Collection) takes the form of a shoe shop, with visitors invited to explore the gallery whilst wearing a pair of the artist’s size 13 shoes. In assuming the artist’s footwear, visitors are encouraged to metaphorically see things from a different perspective.

In My Shoes also includes recent acquisitions into the Arts Council Collection that represent the latest developments in self-representation, including Rachel Maclean, who uses digital media, costumes and prosthetics to play every role in her film, Feed Me (2015), a compelling and fantastical story of contemporary excess.

Jill Constantine, Director of Arts Council Collection said: “This timely exhibition steps away from conventional self-portraiture to show us how artists explore their own identities, whether real or imagined, and offers us an insight into what fires their creativity. Some of the results are disturbing, playful or poignant - but this exhibition captures the breadth of the imagination and the vitality of the work being produced by artists in this country today.”

After the presentation at Longside Gallery, the exhibition will tour to Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester; PACCAR Room, Stratford-upon-Avon; Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth University and The Harley Gallery, Welbeck.

In My Shoes: Art and the Self since the 1990s is accompanied by an illustrated guide by Hayward Gallery Publishing, featuring an introduction by Natalie Rudd, Senior Curator of the Arts Council Collection. A full events programme and a wide range of interpretative resources and activities will be available at each venue, with more details to be announced.


Tour details

Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 30 March–17 June 2018
Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester, 7 July–2 September 2018
PACCAR Room, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon, 6 October 2018–6 January 2019
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth University, 19 January–12 May 2019
The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, 6 July–22 September 2019

About Arts Council Collection
The Arts Council Collection is a national loan collection of British art from 1946 to the present day. With nearly 8,000 works and more than 1,000 loans made to over 100 venues a year, it is seen by millions of people in public spaces from galleries and museums to hospitals, libraries and universities. Representing one of the most important collections of British modern and contemporary art in the world, it includes work from Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore to Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry. The Collection supports and promotes British artists by acquiring art at an early stage of their careers. The Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London and includes the Sculpture Centre located at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk

About Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. www.artscouncil.org.uk

About Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 17-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk. Southbank Centre has carried out vital restoration work on the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room to make the buildings fit for future generations to enjoy.


In My Shoes Press Release

Format - PDF

High Res Image Downloads


Rachel Maclean, Feed Me, 2015. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) and Hayward Touring for British Art Show 8. Supported by Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.

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In My Shoes- Art and the Self since the 1990s, 2018 (installation view). Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artists. Photo Anna Arca

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Jananne Al-Ani, Untitled, 1998. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

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In My Shoes: Art and the Self since the 1990s, 2018 (installation view). Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artists. Photo Anna Arca

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Sarah Lucas, Eating a Banana (1990), from Self-Portraits 1990-98. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist 2018

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In My Shoes- Art and the Self since the 1990s, 2018 (installation view). Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artists. Photo Anna Arca

Format: Jpeg File
Size: 4.83Mb