'Magnificent paintings worth crawling on your hands and feet to Margate to see'
Novelist and Psychogeographer Iain Sinclair reviews Turner and the Elements
on Radio 4 Front Row
'Quietly magnificent' The arts desk, 30 January
JMW Turner, Britain’s best-loved painter, created new and unusual combinations of earth, water, air and fire and closely examined their interactions.
In Turner and the Elements, our first major show of the painter’s work at Turner Contemporary, we explore the important role that the depiction of the elements played in his landscape watercolours and paintings.
The exhibition brings together 88 works; 76 watercolours and 12 late oil paintings, many from the Tate collection. Turner’s innovative painting technique and the influence of scientific and technological developments during his lifetime were to revolutionise landscape painting.
Today, nearly two centuries since Turner’s visits to Margate, see first-hand how his dynamic concept of landscape, unconventional use of colour and near abstract watercolours and paintings secured his place as the artist of the elements and the founder of modern landscape painting.
Works on display include Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth exhibited 1842 and The New Moon; or ‘I’ve lost My Boat, You shan’t have Your Hoop’ exhibited 1840. Turner’s frequent visits to Margate and the Kent coast are vividly portrayed, with particular works chosen especially for the exhibition’s time at Turner Contemporary.
Curated by Inés Richter-Musso and Ortrud Westheider, the exhibition is the only opportunity to see this selection of works by Turner together in the UK.
Turner and the Elements is organised in collaboration with Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg and The National Museum, Cracow.
“The artist delights to go back to the first chaos of the world, or to that state of things when the waters were separated from the dry land, and light from darkness, but as yet no living thing nor tree bearing fruit was seen upon the face of the earth”.
Art critic William Hazlitt commenting on Turner’s work, 1816
"This is the moment I've been waiting for, for ten years - bringing a whole exhibition of Turner's work to Margate" Director Victoria Pomery
Admission to the exhibition is free. There is no need to book for this exhibition, although we do advise that schools and groups book in advance due to the popularity of the exhibition. Contact our Learning team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01843 233012.
There is a no photography policy throughout the duration of this exhibition.
Alastair Sooke, The Telegraph, 31 January
'It is Turner at his most brilliant' Laura Cumming, The Observer , 28 January
'Of the several Turner shows opening in 2012, this may be the most exhilarating. Start here.'
Laura Cumming, The Observer, 28 January
'Turner and the Elements is a visual joy and an intellectual pleasure.'
The arts desk, 30 January
'Set against the backdrop of a bright and crisp winter’s day, a visit to Turner Contemporary is a refreshing taste of nature outside the busy London environment. The natural light penetrates the gallery space imbuing the works with a life-like quality and the simplicity of display highlights the work of Turner in an innovative way. Turner’s influence throughout subsequent art history is obvious in the work of the Impressionists, but beyond the nineteenth century, the paintings remain dynamic and exciting for artists interested in depicting place.'
Emily Sack, Aesthetica 2 February 2012
‘It seems apt that an exhibition so clearly focused on the more hidden and experimental aspects of his art should have been staged in the town that was, more than any other, his bolt-hole from convention.’
**** Andrew Graham-Dixon, The Telegraph, 5 Feb 2012
Exhibition Catalogue and Audio Guide
This hardback catalogue includes in-depth essays on the artist's fascination with the elements, as well as beautiful reproductions of the works on show. Includes James Hamilton's contribution on how Turner 'used science to paint the sun', referred to in The Guardian and on Radio 4.
Find more Turner inspired merchandise in our Shop, open Tuesday to Sunday and bank holidays 10am - 6pm, including postcards, glassware, jewellery, scarfs, mini prints and posters.
There is an audio guide that accompanies the exhibition, available to purchase for £4 per use. The guide lasts approximately 50 minutes.
Turner 'used science to paint the sun' The Guardian 13 November 2011
Win an overnight VIP trip and £500 for your school with London Array
The challenge is to come up with a name for the third and final crew transfer vessel, supplied by Gardline, to service London Array from the wind farm's base at Ramsgate Port. Students can be as creative as they like, to enter visit londonarray.com.
Save 15% on accommodation with Shepherd Neame
Enjoy an overnight stay at the Royal Albion Broadstairs, Fayreness Broadstairs or Bell Hotel Sandwich between 28 January and 13 May and save money. Redeemable on telephone bookings only. Visit www.shepherdneame.co.uk.
Turner Tour of Kent
To celebrate our Turner and the Elements exhibition, we have commissioned artist Stephen Turner to look at JMW Turner’s relationship with Kent.
Stephen has selected 10 images that show the breadth of Turner’s work in Kent and invite readers to travel to a number of locations around the county visited by the artist himself.
Download the tour from the bottom of this page and travel through Turner's Kent...
Our media sponsor for Turner and the Elements, The Independent, have written a review of the tour, read it here.