Boyle Family, Contemporary Archaeology: The World Series, Gotland Site 1968 / 2015

4 Jun 2015 – 17 Jul 2015

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry

Free Admission

Save Event: Boyle Family, Contemporary Archaeology: The World Series, Gotland Site 1968 / 20152

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Royal Society of Sculptors

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • C1 and 430
  • South Kensington and Gloucester Road
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Unveiling of Boyle Family's World Series, Gotland Site this June


The World Series, started in 1968, and shown at the artists’ solo exhibition in the British pavilion at the 1978 Venice Biennale, are seminal works which sit at the intersection of conceptual art, land art and performance.

The aim of the World Series is direct and ostensibly simple: to locate, examine and present 1,000 randomly selected sites from the Earth’s surface.  Viewing themselves as contemporary archaeologists, Boyle Family set out to faithfully document these sites by excluding stylistic, compositional or theoretical concerns, thereby removing their subjectivity.

The World Series started when the artists invited friends and members of the public to fire darts while blindfolded at the largest map of the world they could find, first in August 1968 at their Shepherd’s Bush flat and then during an exhibition which opened at the new Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) premises in 1969. At the time, Mark Boyle declared, ‘it is a lifetime project. It could take 25 years’.  The reality is that it has taken over 40 years during which time World Series sites have been completed in The Hague, followed by others in Nyord in Denmark, the frozen wastes of the Vesteralen islands, Jottenheimen mountains and forests in Norway as well as Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, Scotland, Spain and now Sweden. 

The Gotland site is in the sea, just off the coast near Lickershamn, a site which poses logistical challenges.  For the installation, the Boyle Family have created a film work of the surface of the sea at the site, a large Elemental Study of the main rock type of the area which is limestone and electronmicrophotographs of plant and animal life found at the site, physical response studies of the artists as well as a film of life at the harbour of Lickershamn. 

For more information please visit the RBS website.


About the Artists

The Boyle Family originated in the collaboration between Mark Boyle and Joan Hills which began in the early 1960s when they made their mark on the London art scene with performance events and sculptures. Their children, Sebastian and Georgia Boyle became increasingly involved and important in the creative process by the end of the 1960s and in 1985 they adopted the collective title Boyle Family.  Following the death of Mark Boyle in 2005, Joan, Sebastian and Georgia have continued to work and exhibit collectively. 

Artists’ Talk: 17 June 6.30 – 8.30 pm. Talk at 7 pm


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