Main Building

Grand National / Art from Britain

Grand National is the most extensive exhibition of works by British artists to be held in Norway in over a decade. It takes as its starting point the contemporary position of artists located in an internationally bound artworld in which ties to nation and national heritage are no longer the dominant or defining strategies they once were.

The politics of a British election and the shadow of financial failure offer a cyclical point of vantage from which to look at the country’s divisive politics of the late 1980s and the biting recession of the early 1990s; the rubble from which artists in Britain emerged with everything to gain and little to lose. Grand National, through exhibition and publication, punctures the present whilst laying reach to the recent past and slightly further recent past of British Art.


“…Grand National will appear as a partial survey of a time in British art where there was inflation then a crash in values, not least in cultural value. Artistic worth, it seemed, ran second to the promotion of personalities, and an uneasy co-dependency of the art establishment, the art industry, the press and a young band of artists who would first exploit an unstable market, then embark on a mutually beneficial reconstruction of the status quo. To look from our own recession to the last one is to pinpoint a brief moment when art was the simulacrum of a movement that bucked the market, before becoming it…”

(Chris Horrocks)