World famous artists create mini masterpieces for this tiny art galleryAndrea Smith

An exhibition featuring 80 original miniature artworks by 34 contemporary British artists will open at the Pallant House Gallery in West Sussex in June.

Staged in a less than five-foot-long display case, Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery, will make its debut on 26 June at the English gallery. It will feature new works by high-profile artists like Damien Hirst, Magdalene Odundo, Fiona Rae, Pablo Bronstein and Rachel Whiteread, created over the past year using a variety of mediums, including sculpture, ceramics, photography and painting. Filling an entire room of the model will be a miniature installation by John Akomfrah.

Pablo Bronstein's hand-coloured drawing on paper at the Model Art Gallery exhibition in England
Pablo Bronstein, Rococo Clock, 2020 © Pablo Bronstein

The 2021 exhibit will feature alongside two earlier model galleries – The Thirty Four Gallery and The Model Art Gallery 2000, and its exhibits will range from the size of a pound coin to no larger than 20cm. The three galleries will form a time capsule showcasing over 80 years of British art, and will include original works by some of the best-known modern artists of the past century. The intricate works will include a 9cm expressive nude by Maggi Hambling, a 2cm porcelain pot with a golden rim by Edmund de Waal, a 13cm Damien Hirst spin painting, a 1.5cm collage by Lubaina Himid and a 15cm ghostly blackboard drawing of a ship by Tacita Dean.

Fiona Rae's Abstract 01 from the Model Art Gallery exhibition in England
Fiona Rae, Abstract 01, 2020 © Fiona Rae

The three model galleries encapsulate the distinctive architecture of miniature artworks and provide a backdrop to explore modern art on a doll’s house scale. They give an insight into the evolution of styles and influences across the decades, and show how different generations of artists have approached the unique challenges of working in miniature. The gallery hopes to inspire children and young people and to interest them in contemporary art, and the exhibition will tour to other museums and galleries around the UK in the future.

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“At the height of the first lockdown, artists could not get to their studios, exhibitions were cancelled and many people spoke of being creatively blocked,” says Pallant House Gallery director, Simon Martin. “Inspired by the earlier model galleries, I wrote to some of Britain’s leading contemporary artists to ask whether they might participate in a project to create something positive out of the pandemic. Most of the artists usually work on a large scale and were excited by the challenge of condensing their ideas into a miniature artwork and by being part of a such a unique history of modern and contemporary British art.”

Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery will be on view at the Pallant House Gallery from 26 June through spring 2022.

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