Major exhibition at mac highlights 40 years of art walking with associated events.

Steeped in the tradition of landscape art, walking has been at the heart of many art practices and performances for decades now. This exhibition, focusing on artists’ walks and journeys, both literal and metaphorical, is the first to examine the astonishingly varied ways in which artists since the late 1960s have used what would seem like a universal act – of taking a walk – as a means to create new types of art.

Walk On – From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff, 40 Years of Art Walking, which opens on Saturday 8th February–Sunday 30th March, brings together the work of almost 40 artists. Exhibited throughout mac birmingham’s galleries and open spaces, Walk On will also inspire a host of art walking  events and activities including artist walks and talks, geo caching and family workshops.

The artists:  Marina Abramovic, Francis  Alÿs, Atul Bhalla, Tim Brennan, Brendan Stuart Burns,  Sophie Calle, Janet Cardiff, Rachael Clewlow, Mike Collier, Sarah Cullen, Bradley Davies, Chris Drury, Alec Finlay, Hamish Fulton, Tracy  Hanna, Dan Holdsworth, James Hugonin, Tim Knowles, Richard Long, Melanie Manchot, Pat Naldi & Wendy Kirkup, Julian Opie Plan B, Ingrid Pollard, Simon Pope, Rachel Reupke, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir & Mark Wilson, Brian Thompson, walkwalkwalk , Richard Wentworth, Jeremy Wood, Carey Young

Walk On offers an as-yet-unwritten history of recent art practice. It argues that from land art and conceptual art, and from street photography to the essay-film, many important artworks have been created by an act of walking. All of the works here start with an artist taking a journey on foot, staking out new artistic territory – whether using the street as their studio, or the landscape as a place to inhabit and change through their presence, rather than merely represent at a distance.
The exhibition proposes that across every decade over the last 40 years, artists have worked as kinds of explorers, both making their marks on rural wildernesses and acting as urban ‘expeditionaries’ – “botanizing on the asphalt”, as the critic Walter Benjamin put it.

Walk On brings together works by artists of global repute, alongside works by some bright new talents and less well known names highlighting walking in both urban and rural settings. It will include 2 and 3 dimensional works, video and performance.

Walk On – From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff – 40 years of Art Walking is curated by Cynthia Morrison-Bell and Mike Collier of WALK partnership with NGCA and supported by the Arts Council England. Organised and toured by Art Circuit Touring Exhibitions.

Running alongside the Walk On exhibition is Birmingham based artist David Rowan’s new body of work, The Dark River, which opens on Saturday 8th February–Sunday 27th April. The Dark River navigates the course of Birmingham’s River Rea through a series of moving pictures, taking inspiration from Roy Fisher’s poem, Birmingham River. The Dark River continues Rowan’s long term photographic and film interest in the city’s waterways and builds upon his recent photographic series Pacha Kuti Ten. The Dark River is part of Flatpack Film Festival which takes place across Birmingham from 20th– 30th March 2014.


Front image Richard Wentworth ‘Untitled’, 2009, Walking Sticks, 53rd Venice Biennale. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. Photography Quintin Lake.