British Art Show 9, 2022 exhibition.
Featuring exhibitions from world-renowned artists alongside new arts stars of tomorrow; based in the University's Roland Levinsky Building, The Levinsky Gallery offers a sometimes provocative, sometimes beautiful and always thought-provoking experience. All exhibitions are free and include associated events for you to learn more about the artists and exhibits through gallery tours and artist and curator talks, as well as fun events for all the family.
Previous exhibitions include British Art Show 9 and exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artist Kehinde Wiley; Turner prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon, and group shows that have included award winning artists such as Vija Celmins, Lubaina Himid and Veronica Ryan. The Levinsky Gallery also hosts one of the largest open exhibitions in the South West, the Plymouth Contemporary.  
The Arts Institute is committed to supporting artist development and the creation of new work, regularly commissioning artists working across all art forms.
Monday–Friday 10:00–17:00
Saturday 12:00–17:00
Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays

The Arts Institute's public programme promotes audience engagement, access to the arts, and directly supports emerging and established artists' careers. Please consider a donation to support development and delivery of our programme.

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Previous exhibitions

Resonating Bodies explored the complexities of relationships between humans and machines. The exhibition responded to the fragility and uncertainty that we face in our increasingly digital and automated world. At a time when our sense of being is in a state of flux, the artists, Karen Abadie and Laura Rosser, lean into this unknown through the materiality of the machine. The interplay of human and nonhuman machine bodies are messy and challenged through the corporeality of the work. The machines resonate, clatter and converse in the space, through an entangling of analogue and low-fi technologies, celluloid, paper and ink. Each artist embraces the errors, slip-ups, scratches and ruptures that emerge through working with old, often broken, or malfunctioning technologies. The collective artworks posed questions around political, cultural and societal breaking down, which instead might be seen as a means to repair, renew, regenerate and refresh. The artists’ interdisciplinary practices challenge misconceptions of analogue machines as ‘obsolete’ or ‘outdated’ and reimagine human and nonhuman relationships in these precarious times.  
Abadie’s practice explores what it is to be an embodied being in collaboration with the machine. The imagery presents apparently opposing embodied states that float and bounce around the exhibition space. The artwork offers a repositioning of these states with leaky messy boundaries as these materialities interweave, converse, entangle and collide. The celluloid film interacts with the heavy mass of the analogue machines, its tender surface becoming worn, scarred, scratched and even broken. The collision between human and nonhuman undeniably articulated by this apparent violence.  
Rosser’s practice draws on expanded understandings of error to reimagine our relationships with machines, systems and online spaces. Working with her collection of dot matrix printers and printed ephemera, she creates live text-based installations that embrace liveliness as potential for unforeseen creativity, signalling a move away from conventions of logic and order. This work creates opportunity for diverse voices and new relations to emerge. Her playful use of language and translation disrupt – and interrupt – rational thought and digital structures; preferring the misadventurous and crooked path. 
Ocean explored and celebrated our human connection with the water that covers over 70% of the planet. It did this from a number of different perspectives, bringing together world-leading researchers with contemporary artists and designers to create new works that invite a deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of land and sea. Including a science station for real world experiments, the exhibition also invited the public to get involved, forging a personal connection with the ocean, and our collective responsibility to protect it. 
Situated in Plymouth, a city that has long held a special connection to the sea, Ocean explored the city's unique natural harbour and maritime history that's steeped in a complex history of trading, culture, and colonial narratives. This encounter was amplified by the city's ongoing role as a global pioneer in marine research. The historical associations and ongoing journey painted a unique portrait of Plymouth as a site of global resonance and local relevance. Ocean charted the human and environmental concerns that are raised within the climate crisis. 
At the core of the exhibition, three commissioned works by Bridgette Ashton, Mat Chivers and Stefanie Posavec created a rich tapestry of ocean narratives informed by Plymouth’s special significance. They explored the hidden secrets of Drake's Island, the awe-inspiring majesty of the Eddystone Lighthouse, and the intricate, underwater world of Plymouth Sound. Each artist innovatively bridged the gap between science and art, offering an immersive, experiential exploration of the marine world. 
Stefanie Posavec, an artist/designer who specialises in data visualisation, collaborated with the Marine Institute on a new work rendered within the gallery. Her playful presentation of real-life data sets invited the visitor to situate themselves in a volume of water equivalent to a specific area of Plymouth Sound, and envision what is present within it; from the macro to the micro. 
Mat Chivers’ short film Keepers, specially commissioned for the exhibition, featured the Eddystone Lighthouse. It considered how the precarious moment of change we’re in right now confronts us with the urgent need to focus our actions in a way that recognises our dependence on other-than-human life and ecologies, in the oceans and on land. Lighthouses remind us to proceed with caution. 
Bridgette Ashton created a new sculptural work, Ictus, based on Plymouth Sound’s iconic Drake’s Island. It referenced the history of the island, dating back to 1st century BCE, and the unreliable narratives that continue to add colour and complexity to accounts of the island and its heritage. 
The exhibition was interactive, encouraging the public to participate in real-world experiments at the science station and explore the digital wonders of the marine world through the National Marine Park initiative. This innovative approach aimed to forge a personal connection between the community and the ocean, thus kindling a shared responsibility for its protection. 
Ocean was a testament to The Arts Institute's transformative shift towards a more collaborative, inclusive, and connected approach. It encapsulated the key principles of the Institute, creating a forum where science and creativity meet, fostering an environment for progressive conversation, and encouraging societal, economic, and environmental growth.  
The exhibition was curated by The Arts Institute in collaboration with the Marine Institute. A full programme of associated events accompanied the exhibition, including Bitesize gallery talks. 
Sang-Mi Rha and Marianne Walker, two artists with distinct yet complementary practices, presented Otherworlds, where the lines between the real and the imagined, between 2D and 3D, blur and shift, to create works that intrigue and entice.
Sang-Mi Rha's paintings manifest a metaverse called Neither Nor, an autonomous construct, based on her peripatetic lived experiences and memories from having grown up across the four continents of the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. Beginning by building cardboard animal-shaped masks, which are worn by the inhabitants – the children – of Neither Nor, Rha then works intimately with the painted surface to bring to life her alter ego Allen-the-Voyager and its entourage. The world seen through their eyes is idiosyncratic, a realm that is improbable, yet somehow familiar, and always full of surprise.
Marianne Walker's practice is an exploration of the medium of drawing in conversation with the material remains of the past. Pencil and ink knit together with the sculpted language of the form to become hybrid objects that hover between disciplines. Walker sees her practice as an act of enlivening, exploring an animistic approach to the plant and animal in the human. She interrogates the malleability of history and the storytelling aspects of the science of archaeology. The works also bear witness to Walker’s interest in folklore and devotional sculpture, their fragmentary forms morphing into signifiers of adaption and survival, that confront the viewer.
The Levinsky Gallery was delighted to welcome back Rha and Walker, both of whom exhibited in Plymouth Contemporary 2021. Otherworlds showcased the development of their individual practices, which converged in this exhibition to create something truly unique and awe-inspiring. 
Heidi Morstang: Field Observations presented selected films and photographic works, made since 2001, where landscape is the principal line of inquiry exploring various ways humans intervene with and in it.
The artworks, some made during interdisciplinary expeditions to unfamiliar geographic and conceptual terrain, are an observation of a fragile natural environment, and the increasing changes in the climate that has now become a global emergency. Morstang has filmed and photographed glaciers in the Arctic, boreal forests at midsummer, rapid light changes between polar night and day, and butterflies in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They feature geoscientists searching for ancient scars of earthquakes in the Arctic, scientists dedicating their lifetime work to the study of how climate change affects butterfly populations, and the beacon of hope in the form of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. 
Supported by the Norwegian Embassy.
Heidi Morstang is an Associate Professor in Photography at University of Plymouth.
Held every five years to showcase work of British artists who have made a significant contribution to international contemporary art, the ninth British Art Show (BAS9) returns to Plymouth for a second time.
This four venue, city-wide exhibition, welcomed 37 artists in total, including Abigail Reynolds, Cooking Sections and GAIKA who showed in The Levinsky Gallery. The exhibition was accompanied by a fascinating programme of films, bite size gallery insights and evening talks.
On The Move was a major presentation of Italian artist Anzeri’s practice from the last decade, alongside newly commissioned works. It was the outcome of a three-year dialogue with the artist, whose work responds to, and resonates with The Box’s diverse collections and narratives. 
Breaking the Mould challenged the male-dominated narratives of post-war British sculpture by presenting a diverse and significant range of ambitious works by women. It was the first survey of post-war British sculpture by women, providing a radical recalibration, addressing the many accounts of British sculpture that have marginalised women or airbrushed their work from art history altogether. 
This award-winning exhibition took visitors on an epic journey that traversed three states, three deserts and some 500,000 square kilometres, travelling from west to east: to places in the deserts of the Martu, the Ngaanyatjarra and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) peoples. Using the power of contemporary art, performance, song, photography and multimedia, Songlines shared ancient stories from the world’s oldest continuing culture.

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The Arts Institute, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 7LG

The Levinsky Gallery, Monday–Friday 10:00–17:00, Saturday 12:00–17:00, Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays