Cardiff Contemporary Art Guide

15 Mar 2018

Nina Cieminska

ArtRabbit was invited to Cardiff for the release of Cerith Wyn Evans’ stunning new installation 'Radiant fold… (the Illuminating Gas)' at the National Museum Cardiff. We took the opportunity to get a quick insight into the Welsh capital’s contemporary art scene.

Following the 2002 launch of Artes Mundi, the biennial contemporary art exhibition and prize that brought artists such as John Akomfrah, Teresa Margolles or Yael Bartana to the city, Cardiff turned into a major player within the international contemporary art scene. Today, it’s home to some of the most inspiring and challenging UK art organisations. Here’s our a brief guide to 5 top art spaces and their exhibitions.

National Museum Cardiff
Although known as the home of one of the most remarkable Impressionist paintings collections in the UK, the National Museum Cardiff should not be overlooked by modern or contemporary art lovers. Since the opening of the contemporary art wing in 2011, the Museum has become a vital art hub which owns works by artists like Rachel Whiteread and James Turrell. Apart from its growing collection, the museum now holds a space dedicated to temporary exhibitions and events. The venue recently hosted Ragnar Kjartansson performance-installation The Sky in a Room followed by freshly revealed Cerith Wyn EvansRadiant fold… (the Illuminating Gas). The latter is a spectacular neon light installation created specifically for one of the rooms in the new wing. It will be on view until 2 September 2018.

Run by artists, G39 is a space showing a mixture of Welsh as well as international contemporary works. After relocating to a spacious warehouse in 2011, the gallery became an integral cultural venue not only in Cardiff but in the whole of UK. Apart from contemporary art exhibitions, G39 hosts artist talks, spoken word evenings, screenings and more. Definitely a venue worth keeping an eye on.

With its origins reaching back to 1970s, Chapter is a historical multi-artform venue that commissions, produces and exhibits a brilliant selection of global contemporary art. Popular amongst local communities, the venue has become largely appreciated by international audiences after it became involved in co-hosting Artes Mundi exhibitions. The gallery is currently showing a selection of films and video installations by Turner Prize 2014 nominee James Richards. Don’t miss out on this one.

If you prefer lens-based media over other art forms, make sure to stop by Ffotogallery. The venue’s main focus is to challenge and educate the viewer by enriching their experience of photography with an extensive programme of talks, events, and workshops open to participants of various ages and backgrounds. From solo shows by camera masters to group exhibitions of emerging artists, everything at the gallery oscillates around one thing: a passion for photography. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Ffotogallery now presents a selection of works by local and international artistswhich in different ways capture the essence and the spirit of our times.

Despite being the youngest of all venues mentioned in our feature, ArcadeCardiff doesn’t fall behind the major galleries. Offering exhibition space and artist studios, the venue is constantly in flux presenting a fascinating selection of works by young artists. Located in the Queen’s Arcade Shopping Centre, the very heart of the city, ArcadeCardiff is worth your attention; whether you’re an artist looking for a residency programme or an art lover on the search for fresh names and ideas.

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Nina Cieminska is a London based art theorist and researcher. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

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