The Wick List

Viewing Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery

Peer into this doll’s house-sized exhibition at Pallant House and you’ll see tiny works from over 30 leading contemporary British artists, including Edmund de Waal, Tacita Dean, Lubaina Himid and Damien Hirst. None of the artworks is bigger than 20cm, with some being as small as a pound coin.

These miniature masterpieces are on display in a specially designed scaled-down model art gallery, commissioned by Pallant House in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, alongside two earlier model galleries. The Thirty Four Gallery, made in 1934, features works by the likes of Henry Moore, Ivon Hitchens and Vanessa Bell; while The Model Art Gallery 2000, created to mark the millennium, includes works by such celebrated artists as Antony Gormley, Howard Hodgkin and Peter Blake. Together they chart the evolution of British art across eight decades in miniature form.

‘Most of the artists usually work on a large scale and were excited by the challenge of condensing their ideas into a miniature artwork,’ said Pallant House director Simon Martin, who came up with the idea in lockdown, when artists could not get to their studios and many people spoke of being creatively blocked. ‘And by being part of a such a unique history of modern and contemporary British art.’

The range of works on display is extraordinary, from an expressive 9cm nude by Maggi Hambling to a 13cm spin painting by Damien Hirst. Taking over an entire room of the model gallery is a photographic triptych evoking by John Akomfrah evoking his multi-screen film projects. Don’t let the small size of this exhibition put you off. It is a serious show with big impact.

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26 June 2021 — 24 April 2022
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