Landscapes of Innocence and Experience surveys a number of recent bodies of work by British photographic artist Simon Roberts (b. 1974). The exhibition begins with a single image from Roberts’ Motherland series, an expansive social documentary project photographed across Russia between 2004 and 2005. This image marks a catalyst for Roberts and leads to over a selection of photographs taken in Britain since Roberts returned there with a renewed interest in photographing his homeland.

The exhibition weaves through various series including We English, The Election Project, XXX Olympiad and Pierdom. Brought together in the UK for the first time, the works demonstrate a sustained photographic investigation by Roberts into the terrain and shorelines of his native country. The works picture the social practices and customs, cultural landmarks, economic and political theatre that define the space as uniquely British.

Alongside his photographs, Roberts is also screening a 3-channel video which records a journey he made around the country during the official four-week period of campaigning for the 2010 General Election. The film goes in search of incidental spaces and moments across Britain’s urban and rural landscapes set against a soundtrack of ambient noise and radio news bulletins. Juxtaposed alongside the large format landscape photographs, When did you last cry? explores the shifting perceptions of the country’s economic and political geography, with its many anxieties; a rediscovery and revaluation of where we find ourselves today.

The exhibition is realised in collaboration with Flowers Gallery, London.

The Verey Gallery, funded by Sir David and Emma Verey, opened in 2011 as a space to exhibit the remarkable collection of art, manuscripts, rare books, silver, photography and antiquities built up over 500 years by Eton College.  It also enables the School to make links with the art world through temporary exhibitions curated by visiting curators and showing loaned art works.

If you have any queries, or would like to visit the gallery please contact Charlotte Villiers, Exhibitions & Outreach Coordinator.
Tel: 01753 671123  Email: c.villiers@etoncollege.org.uk

Mary Jane Opie, Self portrait as a huntsman, 2005 (100 x 150 cm)

THE ENGLISH WAY Curated by Craig Patrick Edwards and Derek Curtis

The Aubin Gallery is pleased to present: The English Way, an exhibition uniting six artists – Claire Clutterbuck, Dmitri Galitzine, Mary Jane Opie, Simon Roberts, Andy Sewell and Kraig Wilson – all with an interest in our national identity, and the English countryside – who are questioning what it means to be English in the 21st century.

More information about the opening night here.

The United Kingdom is slowly dissolving, with both the impending Scottish referendum on independence – and our faltering position within Europe – causing national discomfort. The emergence of the coalition government is symptomatic of the fact that trusted left-right structures; represented by Conservative and Labour politicians, no longer seem relevant.

Where does this political dilemma leave our collective sense of English national identity? This theme of political uncertainty is captured in award-winning photographer Simon Roberts’ 2011 three-channel video: Landscapes of Innocence & Experience – to be shown in London for journey across the UK during the official four-week campaigning period for the 2010 general election.

Another aspect of our national identity lies in the backdrop to our lives; our landscape. For city-dwellers, the countryside represents quintessential Britishness – but this is primarily constructed through imagery – in fine art, film, television or photography. Consequently, real rural England remains something of a mystery…
Andy Sewell, described by Martin Parr as “a photographer likely to make his mark on the future of photography”, explores stereotypes associated with the countryside. Enamoured with quaintly-named villages – Sewell searches a map to find poetic place names such as: ‘Cold Christmas’, ‘Nasty’, ‘Little Gidding’, ‘Good Easter’ – then travels to these destinations and photographs what he finds there.

The English Way will offer six varying interpretations of England, by six artists, who will each reveal what it means – to them – to be English.