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Kate Davis
Dee Ferris
Laurence Kavanagh
Ian Kiaer
Colin Lowe
Andrew Mania
Lucy Skaer
Mark Titchner

the music of the future examines the idea of the artist as a link between the fragmented elements of culture in society. Assembling and re-appropriating historical ideologies and art forms, the artists in the exhibition have created works that show deeply personal visions of the present.

The exhibition takes its title from a tongue-in-cheek article on the composer Richard Wagner, published in 1877 in Vanity Fair magazine. Wagner believed in the Gesamtkunstwerk, the idea of an all-encompassing ideology unifying the arts – a total art. Through Gesamkunstwerk Wagner aimed to construct art that was a 'second nature', so perfect that it re-configured the boundaries between art and nature itself. Inevitably this ideology was subject to the disparity between reality and aspiration. Wagner believed that the concealment of reality, formally within the music and also socially, was the point at which the 'poetic aim' of art emerges. Critics believed that it was the necessary denial of reality that was the flaw in Wagner's work. The artworks in this exhibition have been selected for the way in which they explore these conflicts and tensions, and in doing so, re-interpret and unravel many of society’s aspirations.


The exhibition presents work of an emerging generation of British artists. It includes Mark Titchner’s film, Voices We Cannot Hear Tell Us What To Do - a visual and aural bombardment of graphic slogans and subliminal messages taken from multiple sources, including the Fugazi track Suggestion and the Judas Priest track Better by you. Better by me. This work raises many questions, including: what drives the creative act and at what point do we lose control of, or submit to, social structures and beliefs?

In Andrew Mania’s video work Reception, a poetic construct is used as a means of escape. A hand held video camera captures the intensity of a moment -sunlight passing over the face of a figure in an old master painting. The boundaries of this private and constructed world are questioned as the camera zooms outwards, moving its focus away from the face, exposing the work in its entirety and its surrounding environment.

Ian Kiaer’s work, Bruegel project/grey file, is inspired by Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow. Kiaer has placed a cardboard file against the wall with a silver tin foil bird motif on the front of it. Contained within this simple office format, Kiaer not only explores ideas of romantic fictions within the confines of the everyday, but also across artistic disciplines

The title of the Vanity Fair article the music of the future is a reference to the phrase the "drama of the future", Wagner's term for Gesamkunstwerk.


The exhibition is guest-curated by London-based artist Laurence Kavanagh. Previous curatorial projects include Wider than the Sky, 2004 (co-curated with Lizzie Carey Thomas), Corpa Nova, 2003, and Gate 13, 2001.