Olaf Breuning - We Only Move When Something Changes

Olaf Breuning: “We Only Move When Something Changes”, 2002. C-Print. 122 x 155 cm / 48 x 61 in. Courtesy the artist and Metro Picture

‘The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind’

‘The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind’: Exhibition at Hauser and Wirth Somerset explores the contradictory nature of society’s relationship to the rural. From 20 January to 7 May 2018.

Source: Hauser & Wirth Somerset

The presentation features over 50 international artists and creatives, as well as works on loan, by artists working from the 1500s to the present day, including Paul McCarthy, Beatrix Potter, Carsten Höller, Laure Prouvost, William Holman Hunt, Samuel Palmer, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcus Coates, Fernando García-Dory, Mark Dion, Roni Horn, Aaron Angell and Mark Wallinger.

With protagonists ranging from 10th-century anchorites to 21st-century urban ruralists, ‘The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind’ tells the story of humanity’s evolving connection to the land, our perception of, and reliance upon it. Viewers will have the opportunity to engage with the themes of the exhibition through a series of participatory artists’ projects and practical presentations, such as aquaponics, fermentation, goat milking and cheese making.

The exhibition’s title refers to a toast used by migrants in the 18th and 19th centuries, which celebrated the land they had arrived in, followed by a riposte celebrating their country of origin – a place that for many embodied romantic longing. The selected works suggest the rural as a laboratory for the development of ideas, in particular the notion of a rural utopia, exploring the religious migrants, the industrial escapees, the metaphors of the flight from Egypt and the return to Eden, that are embedded in humanity’s collective unconscious. This vision is counter-balanced and punctuated by pieces of documentary and reportage, from works illustrating the reality of modern farming, to artefacts relating to boy racers’ car culture. The exhibition explores these tangible themes of territorial friction, procreation, death, and our primeval base instinct, against the backdrop of a more elusive and arcadian incarnation of the rural.

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