The Promise

Arnolfini and across Bristol

+44 (0)117 917 2300

Saturday 19 July 2014 – Sunday 09 November 2014
Opening Hours: 11am - 6pm, Tuesday - Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays, Closed Mondays

A dialogue between the city and its people. Arnolfini presents The Promise - an exhibition of international contemporary art with a focus on the city of Bristol.

The exhibition explores the potential futures of cities, and the role of architecture, design and the arts within these potentials. Besides the design of physical spaces in the city, the project will also engage with the role of the imagination, and how we construct for ourselves an image of the city that we can share and with which we can identify.

The exhibition in the galleries includes a display of architecture models and other materials that relate to the history of the city including a detailed, large-scale model of the city centre, and a futuristic plan for a museum in Castle Park. These fascinating items give an overview of the diverse ways in which Bristol has been imagined, but not always realised.

Brentford Towers by Stephen Willats, made with residents of Harvey House, Green Dragon Lane Estate, Brentford, West London in 1985, was a seminal work about the idea of a community based art practice.  For The Promise, Arnolfini re-presents 12 panels from this remarkable project, along with additional material related to the work.

The exhibition also includes major works by Abraham Cruzvillegas, Luke Fowler, Isa Genzken, Judith Hopf, Marcel Breuer, John Miller, Charlotte Moth, muf: architecture/art, Studio Manuel Raeder, Josef Strau, Sophie Warren and Jonathan Mosley, Stephen Willats and a Mapping Project: Doing Things Separately Together.  

The exhibition in Arnolfini’s gallery spaces is complemented by installations, performances, sculptures, walks and family events throughout Bristol. These events explore the relationship between the city and its residents, inspiring visitors to rediscover Bristol and view the city from new perspectives.

Offsite commissions include works by Jeremiah Day, Assemble, Kate Newby, and have been developed for significant places in Bristol. The exhibition is accompanied by a new text by Jennifer Kabat.

Gabriel Lester presents two “Aeolian” or wind harps, musical instruments activated and played by the wind. They are presented on the harbourside outside Arnolfini.

On The Downs, one of Bristol’s oldest public parks, Oscar Tuazon has created a 20 foot-high sculpture entitled Live Steam Shift Whistle which has been created with the support of healthcare provider Simplyhealth and doubles as a working barbeque and large fire pit. Tuazon's sculpture, playing with the tradition of architectural follies in landscape parks, will host a community barbeque, catered by The Cowshed.

Back to events

Other Events

Paint Pouring Workshops

Kennaway House, Cobourg Road, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8NG

Monday 19 August 2019 – Saturday 24 August 2019

Recent Works

Harbour House, The Promenade, Kingsbridge, TQ7 1JD

Tuesday 17 September 2019 – Sunday 29 September 2019

James Tower Ceramic Artist: A Centenary Celebration

Victoria Art Gallery, Bridge Street, Bath, BA2 4AT

Saturday 21 September 2019 – Sunday 24 November 2019

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

Supported by: