PREVIEW: Myvillages – Setting the Table: Village Politics, Whitechapel Gallery

The Whitechapel Gallery’s latest display examines the relationship between contemporary art and the rural.

Easbrookend Gravel Pits, 1939. Courtesy Valence House Local Archives, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Now on display to the public, this exhibition spans across sixteen years of artistic thinking and production in over 30 locations, all based outside of urban settings. Locations featured in the exhibition include Ballykinlar, Ireland and Ekumfi-Ekawfo, Ghana, to help international artist collective Myvillages explore the rural as a space for radical cultural practice.

This free display offers a complex vision of the countryside that is distinctively experimental and artistically vital and is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing collaborative programme dedicated to exploring the making of art outside of so-called cultural centres.

The exhibition brings together multiple global projects to simulate a showroom to present more than fifty objects, vessels and artefacts that are piled high, each representing a unique rural industry, economy or community.

A selection of what is on display includes 56 metres of Höfer Lace, imbued with the history of European lace-making industries, ceramics made in remote Russian village Zvizzchi using a special, high-quality local clay, and an enormous word search puzzle featuring the names of over 100 locations with which Myvillages has worked. 

Myvillages – Setting the Table: Village Politics is on display at the Whitechapel Gallery until the 18th August 2019.

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