Hayward Touring is delighted to announce that British Art Show 8 (BAS8) will open to the public at Leeds Art Gallery on 9 October. Organised every five years by Hayward Touring, BAS8 will launch in Leeds before travelling to Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton. For this unique occasion, Leeds Art Gallery will de-install almost their entire collection, allowing the curators and the gallery team to completely reinvent the spaces to accommodate this complex multi-media show. The exhibition, curated by Anna Colin and Lydia Yee, contains work by forty-two artists who were chosen after an extensive research period. Twenty-six of the artists are making new commissions for BAS8 and many others are presenting works that have never been shown within the UK.

Anna Colin and Lydia Yee, Curators of BAS8, said: “A key area that emerged from our conversations with artists, and which came to form British Art Show 8’s broad thematic premise, involves new thinking around materiality at a time of increasing convergence between the real and virtual spheres. Artists’ engagement with the material world can take different forms: some involve revisiting skills, knowledge and traditions that have been overshadowed, while others critically explore the physical implications of our digital existence.”

Highlights include:

  • Post Forma, a major new commission by acclaimed Italian designer Martino Gamper. This participatory work is driven by Gamper’s interest in how objects can be transformed and reused, rather than discarded. Post Forma sees Gamper collaborate closely with Yorkshire artisans; specialists in weaving, bookbinding, cobbling and chair caning, transforming broken objects into unique pieces of craft.

  • Linder’s new textile rug, Diagrams of Love: Marriage of Eyes, is a new work produced in collaboration with Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. This sculptural work will be activated by a ballet choreographed and performed by Northern Ballet, which will travel and evolve with the exhibition.

  • For AMR 733V, Stuart Whipps is working across the duration of the touring exhibition with former workers of the Longbridge plant in Birmingham. Together they will gradually restore a Mini built in 1979, a pivotal year in British politics and industry, elements and documentation of which will be shown as the exhibition unfolds.

  • Anthea Hamilton’s network of new freestanding sculptures – which make use of images from her previous works, including a reclining Karl Lagerfeld – is a functioning ant farm. Over the duration of the exhibition, the ants will form a colony within the complex interconnecting Perspex structures.

  • The new film Feed Me, produced by Film and Video Umbrella, is emerging Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s most ambitious project to date. Feed Me is a delirious confection of multi-layered digital images, the work is part fairytale, part hyper-modern fantasia made even more extravagant by the artist’s trademark multi-character theatrics, which are all played by Rachel herself.

There are also new commissions by: Åbäke, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Caroline Achaintre, John Akomfrah and Trevor Mathison, Pablo Bronstein, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Benedict Drew, Simon Fujiwara, Will Holder, Alan Kane, Ahmet Öğüt, Yuri Pattison, Ciara Phillips, Laure Prouvost, Magali Reus, Eileen Simpson and Ben White, Daniel Sinsel, Hayley Tompkins and Jessica Warboys.

Alongside UK premieres and little seen works by: Aaron Angell, Andrea Büttner, Alexandre da Cunha, Nicolas Deshayes, Ryan Gander, Melanie Gilligan, Mikhail Karikis, Charlotte Prodger, James Richards, Cally Spooner, Patrick Staff, Imogen Stidworthy, Bedwyr Williams, Jesse Wine and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Roger Malbert, Head of Hayward Touring said: “The British Art Show is remarkably ambitious for a touring show, with many new commissions and complex installations. Our curators have brought together a rich variety of works in an exhibition that showcases the wealth of skill, inventiveness, humanity and humour prevailing in British art today.

This year the British Art Show benefits from the exceptional support of Art Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme, which will enable far-reaching audience development activities, including new digital platforms, community engagement and artists’ projects outside the gallery which extends the reach far beyond anything we have previously been able to achieve.”

Sarah Brown, Curator, Leeds Art Gallery said: “We are delighted that the British Art Show 8 is opening at Leeds Art Gallery. For almost four decades the British Art Show has been acknowledged as one of the important exhibitions of contemporary art in this country; each edition has captured a unique moment in British art, and this one will be no different.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “It’s an absolute privilege for Leeds to be hosting an event as prestigious as the British Art Show and an ambitious statement about our credentials as a city that celebrates and promotes art and culture.

It’s been 25 years since we last hosted this event and in that time our city’s art scene has grown and flourished in so many new and exciting ways. This will be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase this to the world, as well as being a massive boost to our bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2023.”