Following months of isolation and global uncertainty, ‘Every Day is a Miracle’ celebrates a reunion of work by the artists Art Below has been proud to present throughout its fifteen-year history, as well as an optimistic look towards the future. Open to the public for ten days, this exhibition will comprise a series of events, each with a limited capacity to comply with guidance as the COVID-19 lockdown measures begin to lift.
We live in extraordinary times, and beyond great tragedies, recent years have also seen triumph and pride in moments of adversity, from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to the 50th Anniversary of the first moon landing and the great work of our NHS – themes which have been explored in past exhibitions and which are returned to again here as Art Below looks optimistically towards the future, with fresh works recently created by artists longstanding and newly brought on board.
Curator and Art Below Co-Founder Ben Moore says: “I feel that the coronavirus has created a wall in history, and that everything that happened before 2020 we will reminisce about for years to come – about the way things used to be. This brief window of time is an opportunity for me as a curator to reflect on those wonderful years as Art Below went on its journey, from 2006 to its last event at the start of this year. This is a chance for us to relive that wonderful time, enjoying a gallery as we used to do and seeing those iconic works that once starred on the walls of the London Underground in a new environment. Things, I believe, will not be the same again in our lifetimes, however with change comes opportunity, and we are looking forward to our continued work with new, emerging artists on the scene, as well as those with whom we have collaborated for over a decade.”
The exhibition is part retrospective, looking back at some of the most iconic billboard posters from Art Below’s fifteen-year span, including Ben Eine, Sarah Maple, Billy Childish and Alison Jackson, as well as work from the Art Wars collection by artists such as Hayden Kays, Philip Colbert, Orlanda Broom and Joe Rush. The show also unveils fresh new work by James Ostrer, Karen Bystedt, Anna Kenneally, Tom Lumley, Jeffrey Robb, Ben Eine, Ru Knox, Mark Metcalfe, Pauline Amos, Nasser Azam and Mikey Voice.
A section of the show will be dedicated to the work of underwater photographer Terry Arpino (12 December 1944 – 7 April 2020), who sadly passed away in April. Terry was a regular Art Below exhibitor from its earliest days and will be greatly missed. He became passionately interested in underwater photography over 35 years ago, excited about how nature shows its beauty and colour in the shapes and forms of organisms, living in this challenging yet serene environment. He enthusiastically described his unique practice as being at times “beyond imagination and dreams.” A billboard poster of work by Terry Arpino was installed at Hyde Park Corner Tube Station on Monday 13 July 2020. RIP Terry.
TURNING AD SPACE INTO ART SPACE
Since its launch in 2006, Art Below has been dedicated to enriching the everyday life of the traveling public by giving fresh insight into the very latest in contemporary art whilst at the same time providing a platform for emerging and established talent. Directional art by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, David Bailey, D*Face, Alison Jackson, Polly Morgan, Antony Micallef, Ben Eine and Gavin Turk – among others – has been across the space of over a decade – been installed in unconventional places, using billboard space in underground stations to display artworks in London and overseas. Art Below has nurtured an international community of artistic talent and has displayed the works of thousands of artists in London, Tokyo, Berlin and Los Angeles.
Art Below is delighted to bring some of these works above ground to exhibit in a more conventional gallery space for the first time.
Art Wars is an ongoing exhibition of life-sized Stormtrooper helmets that have been transformed into highly collectable pieces of art, alongside stormtrooper-inspired works by some of the most talented artists in the world: ‘Turning the Dark side onto the Art Side’. Art Wars has travelled to Sweden, Dubai, Miami and Los Angeles and been the headline feature in numerous art fairs including The Other Art Fair, Moniker Art Fair, and Red Dot Art Fair.
Art Below first presented an exhibition of contemporary portraits of Queen Elizabeth II in 2016, in celebration of her 90th year, and is pleased to now present works from that show alongside those newly created.
James Mylne’s ballpoint portrait, Eyes Wide Shut, features the Queen with a jagged red stripe painted across her face, a look made famous by David Bowie in the 1970s. This work is a homage to a work by street artist Banksy, which appeared in Bristol during the Queen’s Jubilee year in 2012, and to the passing of the music legend David Bowie. Queen (2020), a new work by Nasser Azam, unveiled here, is a key image for our times. Azam comments: “My painting reflects the two things that have supported us during these unprecedented times, namely the leadership of the Queen and the commitment, compassion and professionalism of the NHS which was a testimony on the resolve of our nation.”
ONE SMALL STEP
‘One Small Step’ was an exhibition to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969 curated by Ben Moore at Art Below, will be on view at The Other Art Fair hosted by Saatchi Art. Participating artists include Anish Kapoor, Joana Vasconcelos, Alison Jackson, D*Face, Mr Brainwash, Bran Symondson, UnSKilled Worker, Philip Colbert, Hayden Kays, Ben Eine, Dan Baldwin and Chris Levine.
Art Below is thrilled to be able to exhibit once more artworks by its artist roster, among them this extraordinary bronze sculpture by Nick Reynolds, cast from the foot of Buzz Aldrin himself.
A section of the exhibition will also be dedicated to works new works created by Art Below artists in 2020, including Mark Metcalfe and Ru Knox.