Caves and Grottoes

November 25 2016 - January 12 2017

Private view: November 24 2016

Including works by:

Anonymous
Cristofano Allori
Benedetto Buglioni
Grigorio Fidanza
Henry Flitcroft
Mike Kelley
John Piper
George Stubbs
Richard Tongue
Gavin Turk

Since early humans first sheltered in caves at the dawn of civilization, their walls have provided not only protection from the elements, but also sites for creativity, contemplation and reflection. Long since abandoned as dwellings, caves continue to inspire awe and fear, their entrances conjuring primeval feelings of dread and fascination, their depths still seeming to speak to us profoundly, our histories inextricably linked.

Caves & Grottoes gathers together artifacts and artworks from pre- history to the present day, showing how caves have long been - and continue to be - a source of artistic inspiration. Caves represent a liminal space, one that links us intimately to our distant past. Their gaping mouths threaten to swallow us up - to return us to the dark recesses of the earth at the same time as they offer shelter.

Caves embody the paradox at the heart of man's relationship with nature: that which seems to offer succor or protection all too often endangers; for centuries we have sought to recreate caves on our own terms in the form of grottoes. Frequently ornate and bizarre, these constructions encapsulate the human urge to dominate and control our natural environment. Grottoes speak not only to this impulse to control but also to humankind's urge to create, in turn highlighting that art will always imitate nature but it will never replace it.

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