New work from Keith Harrison will open the first season of contemporary art at a newly refurbished £3.1 million venue.
Southampton’s Grade I scheduled ancient monument God’s House Tower
(GHT) will open later this year as a leading South Coast gallery and exhibition space - with Harrison’s work launching the ambitious programme for the inaugural year.
Harrison’s long-standing relationship with ‘a space’ arts - the organisation behind the GHT redevelopment project - and his reputation for creating ambitious and live performative art events made him a natural choice to lead GHT’s first exhibition programme.
His work will be an exploration of the venue’s theme for year one, ‘GHT: Beside the Sea’, which aims to highlight the building’s historic location on Southampton’s iconic waterfront, and the dramatic changes to the city’s coastline that now positions GHT inland.
Six other artists - all from SO, BH and PO post codes - have also been commissioned to make new work inspired by GHT’s history and location. Southampton-based artist Amy Scott-Pillow and Winchester School of Art graduate Moylin Chong will take over the Contemporary Gallery in November, followed by Laura Eldret, Paul Vivian, Kelly Sinclair and Chris Jenkins.
GHT exhibitions programme manager Tony Spencer said: “Harrison is renowned for his large-scale experimental sculptures created from raw materials, which we anticipate will create a significant impact when GHT reopens. He is extremely supportive of all the work we do with emerging and mid-career artists, and of our aim to reanimate and repurpose historic cultural spaces across Southampton.
“Showcasing his unique work, which connects so perfectly with this building’s stories and our own curatorial focus of ‘Beside the Sea,’ will be a really significant event in Southampton.”
Director of ‘a space’ arts Daniel Crow added: “We want to encourage people to visit GHT not only to see the collections but also to immerse themselves in the whole experience of this fantastic and much-loved building, which has been continually re-purposed over the past seven centuries.
“Alongside showcasing contemporary and period art we will be presenting a series of live performances, talks, workshops and educational events. Our aim is not only to reanimate GHT but to inspire and involve our visitors along the way.”
Phil Gibby, South West Director, Arts Council said: “It’s fantastic to see local artists being programmed to create new work for GHT’s opening year. Nurturing artistic talent is a real strength of ‘a space’ arts and we’re pleased to support them through our National Portfolio funding.
“It’s such an exciting time for Southampton and ‘a space’ are contributing to this by bringing nationally renowned artists like Keith Harrison into the city. Local people have a rich growing cultural offer right on their doorstep, and visitors have yet another reason to visit the city.”
To find out more about the GHT project follow GHT @ght_soton
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