PRESS RELEASE: Towner Art Gallery acquires two new works and receives new commissioning award through Art Fund’s Moving Image Fund

Posted on 10/04/2018

Image: Still from James Richards, Radio at Night (2015) © James Richards, Courtesy of Rodeo Gallery

Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery has added two new moving image works to its collection through Art Fund’s Moving Image Fund. The works – Gerard Byrne’s Jielemeguvvieguvviesjisjnjeli – Film Inside an Image (2015-2016) and James Richards’ Radio at Night (2015) are the latest acquisitions that Towner has made through the scheme, which aims to help galleries and museums build their collections of artists’ films to share with the nation.

Image: Still from Gerard Byrne, Jielemeguvvie guvvie sjisjnjeli / Film Inside an Image  (2015-2016) © Gerard Byrne, Courtesy of Lisson Gallery

Irish artist Gerard Byrne’s Jielemeguvvieguvviesjisjnjeli – Film Inside an Image (2015-2016) is a film made in, and about, the Biologiska Museet in Stockholm, the world’s first natural history museum to construct a vast panoramic diorama of taxidermy specimens lit with only natural light. Byrne films this setting in one unbroken tracking of the camera so that the diorama is seen to hover between the living and the dead; the stuffed animals looking as if they have paused in mid-movement, predators and prey suspended in perpetual proximity.

British artist James Richards’ Radio at Night (2015) is a video work that collages the artists own footage with existing images from highly disparate sources. Organised around visions of the natural world in all its grainy, fast moving and randomising detail, alongside images of technological apertures and industrial processes, Radio at Night grapples with the anxiety and pleasure of seeing and sensing in an era saturated by technology.

Radio at Night (2015) and Jielemeguvvieguvviesjisjnjeli – Film Inside an Image (2015-2016) join Towner’s growing collection of important moving image works that includes films by artists Isaac Julien, Omer Fast, Tacita Dean, Yael Bartana, Joao Penalava, Ori Gersht, and Adam Chodzko. In recent years Towner has also collaborated with many artists working in film and moving image including Ben Rivers, Melanie Manchot, Liz Rhodes, Phil Collins, Runa Islam, Willie Doherty and Kelly Richardson.

Speaking about the acquisitions, Towner’s Head of Exhibitions Brian Cass said:
“We are delighted to have these two incredible works in our public collection and we would like to thank the many generous donors to the Moving Image Fund with Art Fund, Gerard Byrne, James Richards, and their galleries for supporting these acquisitions. The Moving Image Fund is a true game changer for UK Museums and moving image artists. For Towner it has enabled us to work with different artists and transform our collection both ambitiously and strategically. These acquisitions, along with our recently opened cinema and auditorium, have positioned Towner as the leading venue in the South East for artists’ moving image.”

Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said:
“Towner Art Gallery’s bold advances in collecting have significantly raised its profile and helped to make it a cultural destination for audiences from across the UK. Art Fund has been pleased to invest in this ambitious and outward looking organisation, so it’s deeply dispiriting that just at this same moment Eastbourne Borough Council has decided to cut its own support. We call on the Council to recognise the importance of Towner to hundreds of thousands of visitors.”

The Moving Image Fund with Art Fund is the first scheme of its kind in the UK, aiming to ensure that the most significant works of contemporary film and video art are able to join public collections.  In 2015, Towner was selected, along with The Whitworth, Manchester, for the pilot scheme of the Moving Image Fund which provided £200,000 for the two organisations over two years to help develop their moving image collections.

Art Fund’s Moving Image Fund is generously supported by Thomas Dane Gallery, The Rothschild Foundation and the Sfumato Foundation together with the galleries who support Art Fund’s Contemporary Fund including, Hauser & Wirth, Maureen Paley, Nicholas Logsdail and the Lisson Gallery, Sadie Coles, Victoria Miro and White Cube.

In November 2017, it was announced that both The Hunterian in Glasgow and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery would join Towner and The Whitworth as part of the scheme for 2017-2019, along with a new partnership with Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) to enable all four participating museums to commission new moving image works over the next four years. Together, FVU and Art Fund will provide over £40,000 for each museum to commission a new work for their respective collections – supported by FVU’s longstanding curatorial and production expertise. These works will join each organisation’s collection. Towner’s exhibitions and displays of the new works will be announced.

For further information, images and interview requests please contact Towner’s Head of Marketing Emma Haggerty on emma.haggerty@townereastbourne.org.uk or +44(0)1323 434681

Notes To Editors

About Towner Art Gallery
Towner Art Gallery presents exhibitions of national and international importance to audiences across the UK and beyond. Showcasing the most exciting developments in modern and contemporary art, Towner develops and supports artistic practice, and provides a place for experiencing, creating and discussing art and culture. The gallery welcomes over 150,000 visitors a year and collaborates with individuals, communities and organisations to deliver an inclusive and accessible associated public programme and learning offer. Their acclaimed Collection of 5000 works is best known for its modern British art – including the largest and most significant body of work by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) – and a growing collection of international contemporary art. In 2014, Towner became an independent charitable Trust, supported by a Board of Trustees, chaired by David Dimbleby. Towner is supported by Eastbourne Borough Council and Arts Council England through its National Portfolio Programme. www.townereastbourne.org.uk

About the Moving Image Fund 
Launched in 2015, the Moving Image Fund is a scheme conceived by the Art Fund in partnership with Thomas Dane Gallery to respond to the challenges faced by UK museums in building their collections of moving image works. As artists’ use of digital media, video and film continues to increase, so does the desire of museums and galleries to reflect this growing body of work in their collections and to share it with the public. In the current climate, museums and galleries struggle to raise funds for new acquisitions of any kind, of which artists’ film and video pose an even greater challenge as they are expensive to produce and technically complex to exhibit. The Moving Image Fund addresses this growing need by empowering museums to secure impactful and relevant works

About Art Fund
Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In the past five years alone Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. It also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators. Art Fund is independently funded, with the core of its income provided by 139,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 320 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions and subscription to Art Quarterly magazine. In addition to grant-giving, Art Fund’s support for museums includes Art Fund Museum of the Year (won by the The Hepworth Wakefield in 2017) and a range of digital platforms.

Find out more about Art Fund and the National Art Pass at www.artfund.org

Film and Video Umbrella 
Film and Video Umbrella commissions, curates, produces and presents artists’ moving-image works that are staged in collaboration with galleries and other cultural partners. Since the late 1980s, FVU has been at the forefront of this vibrant and expanding area of practice, promoting innovation through its support of some of the most exciting figures on the contemporary scene. During this time, the organisation has commissioned and produced nearly 200 different artists’ projects, ranging from ambitious multi-screen installations to shorter film and video pieces, as well as numerous online commissions. fvu.co.uk 

James Richards
James Richards is a British artist whose work encompasses video, sculpture, sound and installation. Richards was born in Cardiff in 1983 and currently lives and works in in London and Berlin. He studied at Cardiff School of Art and Design before completing a degree in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design London, where he made videos with sampled video, graduating in 2006. 

In 2017 Richards was selected to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale. Other recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include Music For The Gift, Kunstlerhouse Stuttgart, 2017; Request and Antisongs, ICA London; Crumb Mahogany, Bergen Kunsthall and Radio at Night, Museum of Contemporary Art Bordeaux, all 2016; James Richards, Kunstverein Munchen, 2015 and Not Blacking Out Just Turning The Lights Off, Chisenhale London (2011). Richards was selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He was the recipient of the 2014 Ars Viva Prize for artists and the 2012 Jarman Award for film and video and was shortlisted for the 2014 Turner Prize.

Gerard Byrne
Gerard Byrne is an Irish artist known for his film installations that deal with the presentation, manipulation and perception of narratives.

He was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969, where he continues to live and work. He is a graduate of National College of Art & Design in Dublin, New School for Social Research in New York and a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York.

Byrne recently presented a new video piece in Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017 as well as a solo exhibition Jielemeguvvie guvvie sjisjnjeli – Film Inside an Image at  Moderna Museet, Stockholm . Past solo exhibitions include A Late Evening in the Future, ACCA, Melbourne (2016); GrazMuseum, Austria (2015); Kunstmuseum St Gallen, Switzerland (2015); Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; The Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2012); IMMA, Dublin (2011); Milton Keynes Gallery (2011); The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2011); Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland (2010); The Common Guild, Glasgow (2010); ICA Boston (2008); Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2008); Dusseldorf Kunstverein (2007); Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2007); MUMOK, Vienna (2006); BAK, Utrecht (2004); Frankfurter Kunstverein (2003). 

In 2007 Byrne represented Ireland at the 52nd Venice Biennale. He has also participated in dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, 2012; Performa, New York (2011); the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Auckland Biennial (2010); Gwangju Biennial (2008); Sydney Biennial (2008); Lyon Biennial (2007); Tate Triennial (2006); and the Istanbul Biennale (2003).