New exhibition announced for MK Gallery - Destination Milton Keynes
New exhibition announced for MK Gallery

New exhibition announced for MK Gallery

A major survey of Guyanese-born British artist and photographer Ingrid Pollard will be presented at MK Gallery (12 March – 29 May 2022) – the first exhibition to fully explore Pollard’s pioneering and experimental practice, from the 1980s to the present day, and examine her substantial contribution to British art.

Ingrid Pollard is renowned for using photography as social practice, working with portrait and landscape photography to question our relationship with the natural world and interrogate social constructs such as Britishness, race, sexuality, and identity. Working across a remarkable variety of techniques, from photography, printmaking, drawing and
installation, to artist books, video, and audio, Pollard’s practice combines meticulous research and experimental creative processes to make art that is at once deeply personal and socially engaged, addressing issues that are urgent and relevant today: the human body, race and migration, our relationship with the natural world.

A profound interest in the processes of photography has been a constant throughout Pollard’s career. She has experimented with digital and analogue methods, often using Victorian photographic processes, developing images on wood, fabric and slate. Throughout her career Pollard has documented the English landscape, uncovering hidden and unseen histories and stereotypes. Her work often presents evidence gathered over long periods of research in which she observes and explores a particular place, often imbedded within the community who live and work there. Much of her work is created on residencies away from home, exploring ideas of representation, landscape, and identity.

The exhibition at MK Gallery, supported by Freelands Foundation through the Freelands Award, will be the first to present an overview of Pollard’s career to date, featuring works from important series from the past 40 years alongside new work. In Pastoral Interlude (1987), a series of hand-tinted photographs depicting black people in rural settings such as the Lake District offset traditional idyllic representations of the English landscape against unseen histories of exclusion, challenging the stereotype of black people as primarily associated with urban environments. Made thirty years after Pastoral Interludes, in the series Valentine Days (2017) Pollard applied this same hand-tinting technique to late 19th century images produced by Valentine & Sons, originally created to promote Jamaica as a destination for redevelopment, an archive Pollard continued to explore during her time as the inaugural Stuart Hall Foundation Fellow at the University of Sussex.

The exhibition will also feature important works from the 1990s and Pollard’s interest in representations of the body and sexuality, including Deny: Imagine: Attack (1991), in which fragmented images of the body are overlaid with scientific, homophobic remarks, and Contenders (1995), a series of life-size fragmented photographs of the male body that
question the hyper-masculinity of the boxer. The exhibition will also present some of Pollard’s most enduring projects, created over decades of extensive research. For over 30 years Pollard has identified pub signs across England which refer to or depict the figure of the African In the installation
Seventeen of Sixty Eight (2019), photographs of these figures reveal this overlooked aspect of English history alongside related objects and texts. For the exhibition at MK Gallery, Pollard has continued her experimentation with ‘the body’, presenting a new kinetic sculptural installation inspired by characters in colonial films. The sculpture is made from familiar found objects and materials including furniture, rope, and saws, using their sounds and movements in eerie, unfamiliar ways.

Anthony Spira, Director of MK Gallery, said: ‘This exhibition is an important opportunity to truly see and celebrate Ingrid Pollard’s artistic practice on its own terms, which is extraordinary in its variety and innovation. Her work is at once personal and socially urgent, guiding us through some of the most important questions we face today through her remarkable use of image making as a form of social practice.’

Gilane Tawadros, Curator of the exhibition, said: ‘Ingrid Pollard practice has long been focused on the human body, astro physics and geology, and in particular geology in the formation of the stars and planets. The title of the exhibition – Carbon Slowly Turning – invites us to reflect on geological time in relation to human time. On the one hand the millennia in which carbon, rock and other natural materials are made, and on the other the brevity of human existence by comparison and the affecting nature of geology on the human form. A number of Pollard’s works reflect on the cyclical nature of history and human experience, where everything is subject to change, sometimes over hundreds or thousands of years, at other times in the blink of an eye.’

MK Gallery will publish a new monograph to coincide with the exhibition, the first on Pollard’s work, featuring contributions by Gilane Tawadros, Paul Gilroy, Mason Leaver-Yap, Anna Arabindan-Kesson and Cheryl Finley.

More information and tickets: