Mark Wallinger: The Russian Linesman

Past exhibition
Hayward Gallery Touring

Installation view of MARK WALLINGER: THE RUSSIAN LINESMAN at Hayward Gallery 2009

The artist curates work about disputed boundaries, drawn from over 2,000 years of history

Mark Wallinger, one of Britain’s most original and thoughtful artists, curated this unique exhibition exploring notions of the liminal: thresholds between physical, political or metaphysical realms.

The title The Russian Linesman is drawn from a famous – or infamous – sporting moment when the linesman awarded the decisive goal to England in the 1966 World Cup Final between England and West Germany. His controversial ruling exemplifies a central concept of this project: disputed boundaries.

Navigating almost 2,000 years of history from an early Roman double-headed marble bust of Dionysus and Silenus, through popular ‘View-master’ stereoscopic photographs and 18th-century trompe l’oeil paintings, to works by contemporary artists, the show explored the ambiguities present in our own perceptions and how the lines between fact and fiction are often blurred and manipulated.  As Wallinger himself observed, ‘The works in the exhibition use illusion, artifice and dislocating devices to look at our accidental time and place in the world afresh.’

Artists included: Vija Celmins, Thomas Demand, Albrecht Durer, Bruce Nauman, Giuseppe Penone and Fred Sandback.

Organised by Hayward Touring, this exhibition travelled to Leeds Art Gallery (16 May – 28 June 2009) and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea (18 July – 20 September 2009).

The exhibition was accompanied by a small-format publication illustrated with over 100 plates of historical and contemporary works, from a Roman double portrait of Dionysus and Silenus, through to Dürer woodcuts, early photographic pioneering works, a trompe l’oeil sculpture by Vija Celmins, and a video by Aernout Mik.

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