Exhibition archive

The World We Live In: Art and the Urban Environment

  • 21 May 2022 - 4 September 2022
  • Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
  • Free for EAAF Members - if you're not a member and would like to attend this event Join Now.

Cities around the world have developed and diversified more rapidly over the last ten years than ever before. Today, over half of the world’s population lives in an urban environment.

The World We Live In explores the many facets of urban life - architecture, migration, commuting, crowds, noise, lights – which have been a rich source of inspiration to artists. The exhibition brings together important works from the Arts Council Collection, the largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art, to consider how city dwellers have engaged with their built-up surroundings. The World We Live In also includes examples from the Arts Council Collection’s outstanding collection of documentary photographs, presenting an unparalleled view of inner-city life across the UK.

An exhibition of painting, sculpture, photography and film that explores urban life. Featuring 29 works created between 1950 and 2020, as well as photographs from the Collection’s rich archive of documentary photography, the exhibition launches at Leicester Museums & Art Galleries in February 2022 before touring to other venues across the UK.

Exploring themes such as urban development, migration, the relationship between inner cities and suburbia, the sensory experience of living in urban environments, failed utopias of the past, and imagined structures for the future, the artists presented in this exhibition respond to a variety of places across the world.

Deborah Smith, Director, Arts Council Collection, says: “We look forward to working with our touring partners on this exhibition in which artists bring many different ways of looking at our urban environment and, through art, raise questions and encourage people to keep interrogating the world we live in”.

Exhibition credits

Established in 1946 as a national collection for the UK, today the Arts Council Collection cares for over 8,000 works by close to 2,200 artists. The Collection is managed by the Southbank Centre on behalf of Arts Council England, and is committed to supporting artists from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, most often at an early stage of their career, in order to reflect the rich, diverse culture of the UK.

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