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The National Gallery announces new display by Rosalind Nashashibi, inaugural Artist in Residence

Issued November 2020

A new display by Rosalind Nashashibi, the first Artist in Residence of the National Gallery, was announced today. It will be on view from 3 December 2020 to 21 February 2021.

With subjects ranging from Shakespeare to Ingrid Bergman, 2020 National Gallery Artist in Residence: Rosalind Nashashibi: 'An Overflow of Passion and Sentiment' presents four new paintings of varying sizes interspersed among the Gallery’s 17th- century Spanish paintings in Room 30. Nashashibi’s artistic intervention responds to the passion and emotional drama in works by Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo and Zurbarán that hang nearby. The display is part of a body of work that Nashashibi, a filmmaker and painter, has produced during her residency, engaging with the Gallery’s collection, research and teams throughout.

Nashashibi is interested in how the 17th-century paintings use figures and motifs to communicate their stories; her own works weave together elements from a range of diverse sources – film, literature, art history and personal biography. The new paintings she has made for the display depict Shakespeare’s character Malvolio from Twelfth Night, a sculpture of a dancer by Auguste Rodin and a film still of the actress Ingrid Bergman. Nashashibi has taken inspiration from Diego Velazquez’s painting 'Philip IV hunting Wild Boar (La Tela Real)' and his portraits of King Philip IV that hang in the same room.

Nashashibi’s paintings depict parts of the human figure, animals and objects set within non-specific locations. These fragments then act as outlines or framing devices for other subjects to explore how motifs take on new, ambiguous meanings when placed in different contexts. The four paintings are mounted within traditional frames made specially for the display, a collaboration between the artist and the Gallery’s Framing Department.

The residency award, which is part of the Gallery’s new Modern and Contemporary Programme, is a collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society, and this year partners with The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Orkney, which was selected for the exceptional quality of their collections. In a pioneering move to enrich regional collections, a work made during Nashishibi’s residency will be acquired by the Contemporary Art Society for the permanent collection in Orkney.

Rosalind Nashashibi, 2020 National Gallery Artist in Residence, said: 'Spending a year getting to know the collection with the input of the knowledgeable and generous team at the National Gallery has been an exciting and empowering experience. Initially I felt overly humbled by the proximity to the old masters, but I now feel how important it is for female artists to be onsite, engaging with them. I’m proud to be here and grateful that the National Gallery invited me to intervene directly in the collection.'

The partnership between the National Gallery and The Pier Arts Centre has allowed Nashashibi to respond to one of the greatest collections of paintings in the Western European tradition, as well as an outstanding collection of 20th-century British Modernist art, including works by William Gear, Barbara Hepworth, Margaret Mellis, Margaret Tait and Alfred Wallis.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said: 'Rosalind Nashashibi has spent a year as the Gallery’s Artist-in-residence and her new paintings are shown among the Spanish pictures of the 17th century, Velázquez, Ribera, and Zurbarán, in which she sees (in her own words) ‘an overflow of passion and sentiment’. The effect is both striking and intriguing. I am delighted we have established a three-way collaboration with the Contemporary Arts Society and the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney, where Rosalind’s work will be shown in the spring.'

Caroline Douglas, Director of the Contemporary Art Society said: “After all the challenges the last year has thrown at us, it is wonderful to see some of the fruits of this residency going on display at the National Gallery. The effects of an immersive experience of the collections here will be lasting and profound for any artist; for the viewer now, this evidence of connections across centuries and continents gives welcome perspective.  I would like to congratulate Rosalind Nashashibi on this new body of work and look forward to the second manifestation of our collaboration, at the Pier Arts Centre in Orkney.”

Neil Firth, Director of The Pier Arts Centre, said: 'Our collaboration with the National Gallery and the Contemporary Art Society has been very fruitful and has helped connect very different collections, at either ends of the British Isles, in new and interesting ways. World events and restrictions on travel have been against us, but it was great to introduce Rosalind to Orkney last winter and to show her around some of the well-known Neolithic sites on the island and of course the Pier Arts Centre.  Her affinity to many of the works in our collection will, I’m sure, percolate through her work in the future. Receiving a work for Orkney by Rosalind is a great legacy for the residency and will ensure that Pier Arts Centre collection continues to grow, and reflect the interests of artists working today. We are very grateful to the National Gallery and the Contemporary Art Society for such forward thinking and to Rosalind too for her fascinating artistic response.'

Daniel F. Herrmann, National Gallery Curator of Modern & Contemporary Projects, said: 'Since its inception in 1824, the National Gallery’s collection has inspired the most exciting artists of its day. Our Artist-in-Residence programme continues this tradition of supporting contemporary practice. We are delighted to work together with Rosalind Nashashibi, one of the finest and most astute artists working in Britain today. Her critical acumen, visual innovation and curiosity for the stories of images in our lives are of outstanding importance, poignancy, and beauty. We look forward to collaborating with our UK Partner Museum, The Pier Arts Centre in Orkney, to presenting the artist’s work to our visitors.'

Programme sponsored by

The 2020 National Gallery Artist in Residence is a collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society, generously supported by Anna Yang and Joseph Schull, who will acquire a work from the Residency for the National Gallery’s project partner, the Pier Arts Centre, Orkney.

Notes to editors

Image credits

2020 National Gallery Artist in Residence: Rosalind Nashashibi installing her display An Overflow of Passion and Sentiment in Room 30 © The National Gallery, London

About the Modern & Contemporary Programme

For nearly two centuries, the National Gallery’s Collection has provided inspiration to contemporary artists. The National Gallery’s new Modern & Contemporary Programme continues this tradition through exhibitions, displays, commissions, and residencies. 2019 saw the unveiling of Bridget Riley’s monumental wall painting Messengers in the Gallery’s Annenberg Court, as well as the popular exhibition 'Sea Star: Sean Scully at the National Gallery' (13 April – 11 August 2019).

About Rosalind Nashashibi

Rosalind Nashashibi (b.1973) is a filmmaker and painter. A Turner Prize nominee in 2017, Nashashibi has consistently received international critical acclaim for her films which combine the everyday with the fantastical, incorporating cinematic narratives while using a painterly style to capture her observations. An artist of Palestinian and Irish heritage, Nashashibi’s works also reflect a broad internationalism with subjects ranging from police in New York, families in Gaza, and women in Tahiti. Her often collaborative work uses cinematic traditions to develop unforeseen narratives and ways of looking.

Nashashibi was included in the 2017 Documenta 14, the 2011 Sharjah Biennial 10, 2008 Manifesta 7 and represented Scotland in the 2007 Venice Biennale. She was the first woman to win the Beck’s Futures prize in 2003. Recent solo exhibitions took place at the Secession, Vienna; The Art Institute of Chicago; and Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. Her work is included in many public collections, among others the British Arts Council, UK; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate Britain, London. Nashashibi is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths University, London.

About the 2020 National Gallery Artist in Residence

Over the course of one year, the National Gallery Artist in Residence has access to the National Gallery’s on-site Artist’s Studio. The residency culminates in a publication and display of work at the National Gallery, which travels to the UK Partner Museum. It will then be acquired for the partner museum by the Contemporary Art Society.

The position is aimed at an artist in the middle of their career who will benefit from unparalleled access to the Gallery’s collection. Nashashibi was chosen by a jury of artists and curators including the Director of the Pier Arts Centre. An innovation in the award is that it takes into account the responsibilities that an artist may have, so that, regardless of circumstance, whoever has been chosen by the jury can be supported throughout the year-long residency. As well as £30,000, an Artist in Residence may receive a further award based on particular personal or familial responsibilities.     

The National Gallery Artist in Residence is suggested and appointed by an expert jury. The 2020 jury comprised of; Alessio Antoniollo (Director, Gasworks, London), Katrina Brown (Director, The Common Guild, Glasgow), Caroline Douglas (Director, Contemporary Art Society, London), Neil Firth (Director, Pier Arts Centre, Orkney), Prof. Louise Wilson (Artist) and Daniel F. Herrmann (National Gallery Curator, Modern & Contemporary Projects).

The new residency replaces the previous Associate Artist scheme. The Contemporary Art Society’s contribution is generously supported by Anna Yang and Joseph Schull. Rosalind Nashashibi will receive £47,100 for the year-long residency.

About the Contemporary Art Society

The Contemporary Art Society champions the collecting of outstanding contemporary art and craft in the UK. Since 1910 the charity has donated thousands of works by living artists to museums, from Picasso, Bacon, Hepworth and Moore in their day, through to the influential artists of our times. Sitting at the heart of cultural life in the UK, the Contemporary Art Society brokers philanthropic support for the benefit of museums and their audiences across the entire country. Their work ensures that the story of art continues to be told now and for future generations.

About The Pier Arts Centre, Orkney

The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Orkney was established in 1979 to provide a home for an important collection of British fine art donated by the author, peace activist and philanthropist Margaret Gardiner (1904 – 2005).

The Collection includes works by major 20th Century artists Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Alfred Wallis, amongst others, as well as contemporary art by Sean Scully, Eva Rothschild and Olafur Eliasson and Orkney artists including Sylvia Wishart and Stanley Cursiter.

It is a Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland, equivalent to the Designated Outstanding Collection scheme in England. The Pier Arts Centre is a Plus Tate partner, a network of outstanding visual arts organisations across the UK.

The Centre curates a year round programme of changing exhibitions and events for the education and enjoyment of the general public.

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