Aberdeen prepares to welcome prestigious British Art Show 9

Preparations are well underway as Aberdeen gets ready to welcome visitors to the prestigious British Art Show 9, opening at Aberdeen Art Gallery on 10 July. British Art Show has been taking place every five years since 1979 and is widely regarded as the most important survey of recent art from the UK. This major exhibition launches in Aberdeen - the first time it has been hosted by the city - it will then tour to Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth. Aberdeen is the only Scottish location.

A group of locally-recruited BAS9 Ambassadors will play an important role in making connections between local people and this major touring exhibition of the best recent art from the UK. Ambassadors will work with groups of young people, families, students and New Scots to explore the exhibitions themes, the artists’ inspiration and processes, and to encourage participants to unlock their own creativity. In the Art Gallery, volunteer Explainers will be on hand to answer all the questions visitors ever wanted to ask about contemporary art and were afraid to ask.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson, said: “People who have visited Aberdeen Art Gallery in the last couple of weeks will notice that things are changing, with artworks moving, and gallery spaces closed off as the team get ready to install work by the 33 artists exhibiting in British Art Show 9 in Aberdeen. In a double first for the city, we are tremendously excited to be hosting this prestigious exhibition for the first time, and launching the UK tour. We hope that local residents and – Covid-19 restrictions permitting – people living further afield will take the opportunity to visit BAS9 in Aberdeen, perhaps as part of a summer staycation – British Art Show 9 will be activating the Silver City’s streets and is not to be missed.”













Final touches: exhibits at Aberdeen Art Gallery (above) are carefully packed away to make room for British Art Show

British Art Show 9 in Aberdeen is supported by wide-ranging public programme of online and real-life events, including talks, performances and workshops. The team at Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums has worked with partners across the city to develop and deliver the programme. Highlights include a sound walk and Sound Fountain contemporary music installations specially-commissioned by Sound Festival to celebrate BAS9 in Aberdeen. At the Broad Street fountains outside Marischal College, four looped pieces of audio by Pippa Murphy, Ross Whyte, Bea Dawkins and Silent Chaos complement the motion of the dancing water. Each piece lasts approximately 10-15 minutes and can be listened to free of charge near the fountains on personal devices via the locative audio player Sonicmaps.

At Aberdeen Central Library, artist Abigail Reynolds has worked with a group of nine local readers as part of her Elliptical Reading project. Reynolds is developing a regular reading hour at local libraries in each of the BAS9 host cities, beginning in Aberdeen. Readers meet to share short sections from a favourite book, creating between them an unruly text or word collage, which builds over time. In Aberdeen, visitors to the Central Library can find books selected by nine local readers which have been re-bound by the artist and re-shelved in alternative locations chosen by the readers. Map guides with the locations of these books will be available in the Art Gallery, Aberdeen Central Library and to download here. Abigail will also take part in WayWORD, the student-led creative arts festival at the University of Aberdeen in September.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is home to one of the finest collections in the UK. The Gallery underwent a landmark £34.6 million redevelopment between 2015 and 2019, supported by Aberdeen City Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It is a joint winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020, the world’s largest museum prize.

British Art Show 9, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Aberdeen Central Library, 10 July - 10 October 2021. Admission free. Visiting information.

More information about British Art Show 9, along with full details of the events programme.