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  • Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Photo Stephen White
  • Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Photo Stephen White
  • Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Photo Stephen White
  • Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Photo Stephen White
  • Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Photo Stephen White
  • Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Photo Stephen White
  • Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Self: Image and Identity, installation view at Turner Contemporary.

    Photo Stephen White
Sat 24 Jan - Sun 10 May 2015

In a world where 'selfies' have become everyday expressions and ‘Britishness’ is being redefined, what is the role of self-portraiture and how has it shifted through the history of art to the present day?

In this extraordinary new exhibition, Turner Contemporary becomes a frame through which self-portraiture is re-evaluated in the 21st century, sparking conversations on history, celebrity, collecting, gender, mortality and contemporary approaches.

Artists have been recreating their own image for centuries. From self-advertisement and preserving legacy, to figurative studies, political commentary and biographical exploration self-representation, has shaped Western art.

We reflect on artists' self-portraits from Sir Anthony van Dyck's last Self-portrait of 1640-1, recently saved for the nation, to Louise Bourgeois. Over 100 works, most of which are from the National Portrait Gallery London, are brought together for an expansive look at the artists’ self. 
Historical and contemporary artists sit side by side, including Sir Anthony van Dyck, Mary Beale, Louise Bourgeois, John Constable, Tracey Emin, Jason Evans, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Angelica Kauffmann, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Yinka Shonibare MBE, JMW Turner and Andy Warhol.

Be challenged, surprised, and think differently.

Organised in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, with support from the Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The acquisition of Van Dyck's last self-portrait was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund in honour of David Verey CBE (Chairman of the Art Fund 2004-2014), the Portrait Fund, The Monument Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, several major individual supporters, and many contributions from the public through the Save Van Dyck appeal, 2014. Turner Contemporary is the first venue on a 3 year UK tour of Van Dyck's Self-portrait.

Find out more about Van Dyck's last self-portrait, its conservation and the tour here

Sponsored by St Lawrence College.

With thanks to our corporate patrons, Crown Fine Art 'Caring for fine art - on display, in transit, worldwide’ and Moosejaw Woodworks 'Gallery display, exhibition furniture and construction for artworks'.

"Self: Image and Identity at Turner Contemporary is an engrossing, sometimes alarming, baggy show of self-portraiture, from Anthony Van Dyck to now. You get all sorts here."
4**** The Guardian


Free exhibition tours
Every Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11.30am.

Free audio descriptive tours
For visually impaired visitors are available on request, call 01843 233000 prior to visiting.

Multi-sensory objects
Explore the exhibition with our objects, just ask staff.

Free exhibition spotlight stories
Every Friday, Saturday and bank holiday at 2pm, our staff share a personal story
inspired by an artwork in the exhibition.

Hugh Dennis’ comedy art audio tour
£4 / £3 concessions
Experience the exhibition in a new way with comedian Hugh Dennis’ (Outnumbered, Mock the Week) unique comedy art tour, inspired by our visitors’ conversations. Every £1 will be matched by £1 as part of our fundraising Endowment campaign. By production company unusual and Acoustiguide Multimedia Players. 

"A lot of people are put off art galleries because they think of art as a very high-brow subject which can only be enjoyed in a very serious and intellectual way. It isn't, it is there to be enjoyed by everyone and I hope a slightly irreverent gallery guide might help change that perception.” 
Hugh Dennis 

Van Dyck's Last Self-Portrait

Van Dyck Self-portrait (1640-1)
Central to the exhibition is the last known Self-Portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), Court Painter to Charles I and the most influential portrait painter ever to have worked in Britain. No artist working in Britain had previously painted him or herself as many times as Van Dyck, which led to him being regarded as Britain’s first ‘celebrity’ artist, a legacy that lasted for the next three centuries.

The acquisition of Sir Anthony van Dyck’s remarkable Self-Portrait was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund in honour of David Verey CBE (Chairman of the Art Fund 2004-2014), the Portrait Fund, The Monument Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation, several major individual supporters, and many contributions from the public through the Save Van Dyck appeal, 2014. Turner Contemporary is the first venue on a 3 year UK tour of Van Dyck's self-portrait.

Taking Van Dyck’s legacy and self-portrait as a starting point, the development of the genre of self-portraiture will be considered in the exhibition through a series of themes including: history, celebrity, collecting, gender, mortality and contemporary approaches . From the rise of self-portraiture in Britain in the mid-17th century to contemporary responses, such as Jason Evans’s new commission Sound System Self-Portrait, the exhibition includes work by; Louise Bourgeois; John Constable; Tracey Emin; Lucian Freud; Damien Hirst; David Hockney; Angelia Kauffmann, Sarah Lucas, JMW Turner and Gillian Wearing.

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