Deloitte contemporary art exhibition series
The Contemporary Art Society is delighted to be partnering with Deloitte Luxembourg on a year-long series of exhibitions, which reflect upon the shifting nature of our perception of the ‘world’ and celebrate the diversity of the modern globalised condition – a theme perfectly suited to Deloitte, the largest professional services organisation in the world.
As an independent and specialist contemporary art charity founded in 1910, we exist to develop public collections of contemporary art in the UK, and draw upon 100 years of curatorial expertise to create inspirational contemporary art collections for audiences everywhere. Our consultancy services enable us to work with visionary partners like Deloitte, who share our passion for contemporary art as a way to understand our rapidly changing world, and to generate the funds for our charitable mission.
In doing so, Deloitte’s enlightened support enables us to harness the extraordinary perspectives of artists today in inspirational collections for audiences tomorrow. We are enormously indebted to them and congratulate them on this bold new endeavour, which offers contemporary art as an arresting prism through which to amplify our experience of the present.
Contemporary Art Society
Outer World exhibition Introduction
The Contemporary Art Society has been invited by Deloitte to curate a series of exhibitions for their Luxembourg office. In thinking about this global company, the broad theme of how artists examine the world started to take shape, developing into a focus on three separate themes - ‘Urban Worlds’, ‘Inner Worlds’, and this, the first of the series ‘Outer Worlds’
The exhibition series is designed to stimulate ideas about our relationship to our environment through creative responses that are sometimes provocative, sometimes playful – but always through a distinctive contemporary art lens.
The launch exhibition Outer Worlds is focused upon territories unknown – the outer reaches of space and imagination that symbolise a very human desire to expand beyond our quotidian existence. Artists and writers have always imagined, depicted and created other worlds. Many have taken the journey towards the unknown, sometimes expanding on existing scientific knowledge but often leading the way. Manned space flight, geostationary satellites and data collecting probes all existed in the cultural imaginary before they were realised. Arthur C Clarke (who famously predicted geostationary satellites in 1945) is quoted as saying:
'I’m sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it’.
Some artists base their work on contemporary scientific theory, some on speculation, some
on history and others pure fantasy (and many merge all of the above). What is common is a sense of wonderlust, a desire to travel within the imagination, to perceive the world anew and report back so others can share their experience.
In a letter written in 1610 to Galileo, Johannes Kepler wrote:
‘As soon as somebody demonstrates the art of flying, settlers from our species of man will not be lacking on the moon ... given ships or sails adapted to the breezes of heaven, there will be those who will not shrink from even that vast expanse’.
As we now know, humankind has not flown amongst the stars with the ease Kepler predicted. Our knowledge of outer worlds is nowhere close to complete. The unknown still prevails, and perhaps always will, compelling artists to continue their imaginary explorations.
At a moment in history when our world and humanities relationship to it is being urgently re-appraised, it is increasingly important to be able to imagine alternatives, parallel concepts of the world that allow us to develop new approaches. We are but a small moment in history on a small planet within the infinity of space and time. Maybe deep down we have always known this, and the search for outer worlds is a fundamental part of what it is to be human. As Edwin Hubble stated in the closing words of his last published scientific paper:
‘The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be suppressed’.