Flight and the Artistic Imagination
- Sam Skillings
- 29 June 2012
Where: Compton Verney, Warwickshire CV35 9HZ When: Friday 29 June - Sunday 30 September 2012
This exhibition explores the instinctive human desire to fly from fantasy flight to the modern era, where it is an everyday occurrence. Through an intriguing combination of paintings, sculpture, photographs, drawings, prints and video, the exhibition includes work by Leonardo de Vinci, Henri Matisse, Paul Nash, Elizabeth Frink and Hiraki Sawa and provides a unique overview of artists’ creative responses to flight.
This large thematic exhibition comprises over 80 works on loan from national collections including the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum, Arts Council Collection, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Collection.
This journey in time and space begins with a look at flight depicted in classical mythology and religion, with artists examining man’s innate desire to transcend the limitations of earthly concerns up to the realms of the gods as depicted in Goya’s Modo de Volar (A Way of Flying) and Henri Matisse’s Icarus. This theme is later picked up again with images of otherworldly and human ascent from historical depictions of Jacob’s ladder stretching from heaven to earth to Mark Wallinger’s Angel.
It will display some amazing imagined and real views of the earth from above including Leonardo da Vinci’s A Bird’s Eye View of the Val di Chiana to Peter Lanyons’s Soaring Flight
Flying machines of all descriptions are also depicted, as poignant events in the history of flight are visited. These include the first balloon flight from Birmingham in 1785, the Wright Brother’s first flight, the Spirit of St Louis flight in 1927 and Pat Douthwaite’s haunting depiction of the death of Amy Johnson. Flight and war are explored through Paul Nash, Walter Monnington and Cyril Power’s commanding depictions of the First and Second World War conflicts from a pilot’s perspective. Flight through space travel is represented through images of Yuri Gagarin and stunning shots from the Hubble telescope. The exhibition concludes with a series of contemporary artist’s responses to flight including a commissioned piece by Paul M Smith featuring Compton Verney and ends with a dramatic work called Downed by artist Al Johnson.
The exhibition is curated by Professor Sam Smiles with Penelope Sexton. A fully illustrated publication will accompany the exhibition published by Paul Holberton.
A special themed Flight weekend will be held on 7 and 8 July which includes a flypast by the Old Flying Machine’s Spitfire MH 434 and the Lancaster from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, paper aircraft races, model aircraft, kite flying and much more.
Visit www.comptonverney.org.uk for further details.
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