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Arnolfini - est 1961


Saturday 10 September – Sunday 23 October

Haluk Akakçe

Martin Boyce

Jyll Bradley

Matthew Buckingham

Chen Chieh-jen

Julie Mehretu

Lee Mingwei

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Nobuko Tsuchiya

JMW Turner

The first exhibition upon Arnolfini’s reopening is an international group show exploring themes of progress, history, memory and loss. It includes paintings, photography, drawings, installations, film, video and sculpture, many of which have never been seen in the UK before. The exhibition asks how, why and what we remember. The works invite us to reflect on the steady march of time, the trauma of progress and the wreckage of history. Invoking ghosts, spectres, phantoms and angels, these works explore our complex relationship to the past as well as our responsibility to the present.

Many films within the film programme explore themes in the exhibition, particularly the Sunday double bills. Before each of these from Sunday 11 September to Sunday 23 October, there will be a special screening of Daniel Brefin’s video projection Hollywood. On Sunday 11 September, the artist will introduce the work before the screening. See the film section for more details.

“This show marks a moment – for the building and Arnolfini. It’s a celebration and a commemoration and we chose and installed the works in a way that was very specific to the new spaces. One of the things I really like about this show is that the building itself is integrated into the heart of it.” Martin Clark, Curator, Exhibitions.

The exhibition ends on Sunday 23 October with a special closing ceremony designed by Lee Mingwei.


The title comes from writer Walter Benjamin’s response to a small painting by Paul Klee. Writing about this painting, Benjamin conjures up the image of the ‘Angel of History’. For him this figure symbolizes the inevitable and irrepressible drive of progress, the storm in which we are all caught up. This storm propels us blindly forward and leaves a traumatic and cataclysmic wreckage in its wake. This powerful image, perceived in a painting, provides a point of access into the diverse works which make up the exhibition: each work is illuminated by it.