As Exciting As We Can Make It

Ikon in the 1980s

A survey of Ikon’s programme from the 1980s, As Exciting As We Can Make It, (2 July – 31 August 2014) is a highlight of the gallery’s 50th anniversary year.

A comprehensive exhibition, including work by 29 artists, it features painting, sculpture, installation, film and photography actually shown at the gallery during this pivotal decade.

The 1980s saw the rise of postmodernism, a fast-moving zeitgeist that chimed in with broader cultural shifts in Britain, in particular the politics that evolved under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher.

There was a return to figurative painting; a shameless ‘appropriationism’ that saw artists ‘pick and mix’ from art history, non-western art and popular culture; and an enthusiastic re-embrace of Dada and challenge to notions of self contained works of art through an increasing popularity of installation.

Ikon had a reputation by the end of the 1980s as a key national venue for installation art.

This publication contains biographies of all the artists in the exhibition, material from the 80s from Ikon’s archive, installation photography and essays.

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