press release

The British Council is very pleased to present Britannia Works, a major exhibition of contemporary art currently being made in Britain, curated by Katerina Gregos. This exhibition is one of the largest and most significant productions of the British Council, in Greece, in the field of the visual arts.The exhibition will take place in three of Athens' premier exhibition venues: the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, Xippas Gallery, and the Breeder from the 3rd April to the 29th May 2004, as well as at the British Council auditorium, which will host a film programme.

Britannia Works is taking place at a time when the British art star system and its homogenising, publicity-driven tendencies have come under increasing criticism. The exhibition will present a wide cross-section of art, by artists of different ethnic origins, in the so-called post-'yBa' era. It will not be governed by any overarching curatorial concept, but will look at the individual contributions of artists, who may not necessarily be of British nationality, but have chosen to make Britain their home and place of work. Britannia Works will aim to give an idea of the range of art currently being made, and articulate a sense of the increasing openness that characterises the British art scene now, a reason why so many non-British artists are drawn to the UK. In that sense, the exhibition will try to steer clear of generalising notions of "Britishness" or homogenising definitions of "British art" and instead draw attention to the multi-faceted, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic perspectives that are an integral part of post-colonial UK.

The exhibition will include primarily young and emerging artists, as well as a handful of slightly older artists who were never assimilated into the 'yBa' hype and have consistently been producing work of distinction. The artists in the exhibition - the majority of whom will be exhibiting in Greece for the first time - will present work in different media and diverse visual languages.

Britannia Works aims to generate an open-ended forum of discussion on art being made in Britain today, but also hopes to be able to pinpoint certain areas of interest that currently preoccupy artists. These areas range from a renewed concern with the possibilities of painting and sculpture and the legacy of modernism, to a continuing preoccupation with contemporary culture, socially engaged art practice, or art that examines different facets of the everyday. Rather than trying to "package" artists under one oversimplifying rubric, Britannia Works aims to celebrate individual artistic visions and present a variety of artistic viewpoints, positions and languages. In contrast to much of the work made in the '90s, which tended to be extroverted, to have high production values and to appropriate ready-made materials, the work of many of the artists in Britannia Works tends to be more low- key, subtle and modest, often reflecting private, idiosyncratic concerns. Much of it may be handcrafted and labour-intensive, using cheap, lo-tech materials. Most of them have consciously distanced themselves from the attention-grabbing shock tactics of their predecessors to make work that defies categorisation and does not obey any rules. Even old- fashioned, traditional genres such as landscape or portraiture are being re-visited and re-negotiated. These artists are aware of the trappings of the ironic one-liner and the conceptual joke and aim to create art that is multi-dimensional, contemplative, and less deliberately confrontational or concerned with making definitive statements.

What is happening in the British art scene now? How has it developed and changed over the last years? How do artists who come from a different culture but choose to make Britain their home, respond to their environment? What are the issues that seem to predominate among younger artists? These are just some of the questions that Britannia Works hopes to address.

The artists in bold are exhibiting at Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre.

Participating artists: FAISAL ABDU' ALLAH (Born 1969, London, UK), SHAHIN AFRASSIABI (Born 1969, Tehran, Iran), ARTLAB, BLACK AUDIO FILM COLLECTIVE, MATT BRYANS (Born 1977, London, UK), ERGIN ÇAVUSOGLU (Born 1968, Tirgoviste, Bulgaria), JEREMY DELLER (Born 1966, London, UK), NICK EVANS (Born 1976, Mufulira, Zambia), JULIE HENRY (Born 1959, Cambridge, UK), SOPHIE VON HELLERMAN (Born 1975, Munich, Germany), MARINE HUGONNIER (Born 1969, Paris, France), RUNA ISLAM (Born 1970, Dhaka, Bangladesh), MARK LECKEY (Born 1964, London, UK), CAMILLA LØW (Born 1976, Oslo, Norway), HAYLEY NEWMAN (Born 1969, Guildford, UK), ROSALIND NASHASHIBI (Born 1973, Croydon, UK), TOBY PATERSON (Born 1974, Glasgow, UK), JOHN RIDDY (Born 1959, Northampton, UK), ZINEB SEDIRA (Born 1963, Paris, France), GEORGE SHAW (Born 1966, Coventry, UK), DAVID SHRIGLEY (Born 1968, Macclesfield, UK), DJ SIMPSON (Born 1966, Lancaster, UK), TIM STONER (Born 1970, London, UK), MARK TITCHNER (Born 1973, Luton, UK), NOBUKO TSUCHIYA (Born 1972, Yokohama, Japan), VISION MACHINE, RICHARD WATHEN (Born 1971, London, UK), GARY WEBB (Born 1973, Bascombe, UK), SHIZUKA YOKOMIZO (Born 1966, Tokyo, Japan) A bilingual (English/Greek) colour catalogue will be published on the occasion of the exhibition

PRODUCED AND ORGANISED BY: The British Council CURATOR: Katerina Gregos CO-ORDINATION: m.p.artproductions

VENUES: Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, 48 Armatolon & Klefton St., GR - 114-71, Athens . T +30 210 6439466 Xippas Gallery, Sofokleous 53D, GR - 105 52, Athens. T. +30 210 3319333 The Breeder, 6 Evmorfopoulou St., GR - 105 53, Athens. T. +30 210 3317527/8 The British Council, 17 Kolonaki Square, GR - 106 73, Athens. ?. +30 210 369 2333


only in german

presented by the British Council, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, Xippas Gallery, The Breeder
Kurator: Katerina Gregos

mit Faisal Abduallah, Babak Afrassiabi, Shahin Afrassiabi, Ergin Cavusoglu, Jeremy Deller, Nick Evans, Sophie von Hellermann, Julie Henry, Marine Hugonnier, Runa Islam, Mark Leckey, Camilla Low, Rosalind Nashashibi, Hayley Newman, John Riddy, Zineb Sedira, George Shaw, David Shrigley, DJ Simpson, Tim Stoner, Mark Titchner, Nobuko Tsuchiya, Richard Wathen, Gary Webb, Shizuka Yokomizo

06.04.04 - 29.05.29 ILEANA TOUNTA Athen
06.04.04 - 29.05.29 The Breeder, Athen
06.04.04 - 29.05.29 Xippas Gallery, Athen
06.04.04 - 29.05.29 British Council, Athen