Our opening exhibition brings together work by the visionary British painter JMW Turner and six contemporary artists.
We welcome visitors to the new gallery to see fantastic art works and spectacular spaces. The exhibition explores imagination, discovery, wonder and creativity. This spirit has also guided the building of the gallery from an idea into reality.
JMW Turner (1775 – 1851) visited Margate throughout his life. He used his imagination and experience of nature to create extraordinary paintings conjured from his mind’s eye and often stimulated by the light and landscape of the Kent coast.
The exhibition centres on Turner’s extraordinary painting The Eruption of the Souffrier Mountains, in the Island of St Vincent, at Midnight, on the 30th of April, 1812, from a Sketch Taken at the Time by Hugh P. Keane, Esqre ,1815, which portrays the drama of a volcanic eruption. Turner never saw the event, but was inspired to make the painting by Keane’s sketch and his interest in the natural world.
Turner’s painting is evidence of the power of his imagination and his curiosity about new places and natural phenomena. This desire for knowledge marked the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when many discoveries were made in science and technology and artists and scientists worked in close dialogue.
The six contemporary artists in the exhibition work in the same spirit of enquiry, invention and interest in the natural world that flourished during Turner’s lifetime. Just as Turner explored nature in paint and colour, so these contemporary artists play at the borders between what we can see and know and the truly fantastic. Four of the artists have made new work for the opening of Turner Contemporary. Like Turner, their work responds to the special setting of the gallery in Margate, on the North Kent coast.
During this exhibition photography in the galleries is permitted. Please refrain from using flash or tripods. Permission to take photographs for professional or commercial purposes must be obtained in advance from Turner Contemporary.
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