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Major Contemporary Public Art Commission to go on Display as Part of Royal Academy Exhibition
United Visual Artists, Onward, 2009. Photo-rendering. Courtesy United Visual Artists.

LONDON.- The Royal Academy of Arts and Burlington Arcade are delighted to announce a new commission by British-based practice United Visual Artists. Onward heralds the first collaboration between two of the West End’s most famous institutions and will provide a temporary link between the Royal Academy’s Burlington House and 6 Burlington Gardens site, where the exhibition GSK Contemporary, Earth: Art of a changing world will be held this winter. Onward will be on display from 20 November 2009, throughout Christmas, until the exhibition closes on 31 January 2010. The installation will also celebrate the recently completed multi-million pound renovation project in honour of the Arcade’s 190th birthday.

Set within the beautifully ornate and classic architecture of Britain’s first ever shopping arcade, Onward will present a sequential series of light sculptures hung centrally through the Burlington Arcade and on the portico of 6 Burlington Gardens. Taking the form of tessellated polyhedra, they present us with a simple allegory of evolution through mutation. As our understanding of the development and evolution of the natural world has been led by philosophers’ and scientific discovery, today the rate of change is hugely accelerated. What we understand to be the elemental bricks in our existence are profoundly altered day by day; this complexity and disintegration is echoed in the work.

Founded by Matt Clark, Chris Bird and Ash Nehru in 2003, United Visual Artists (UVA) is a London based art and design practice. Their work spans permanent architectural installations, live performance and public art. UVA's work is about social experience, turning the audience into active participants and the relationship between space, the performer and the audience is at the heart of their practice. Research and development is core to their process, enabling them to constantly explore new fields as well as reexamine more established ones. In 2008 they were shortlisted for the Darwin bicentenary commission at the Natural History Museum, London and, in the same year, they were part of Meltdown curated by Massive Attack. UVA has also been selected to create two major new public art commissions for Maple Leaf Square in Toronto, Canada.

GSK Contemporary 2009 is the second annual contemporary art season at 6 Burlington Gardens. Opening in December, Earth: Art of a changing world will present new and recent work from more than 30 leading international contemporary artists, including commissions and new works from the best emerging talent. Co-curated by Kathleen Soriano, Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy, David Buckland, Director of Cape Farewell, and, Edith Devaney, Royal Academy, this exhibition will reflect the impact of the climate change debate on the practice of a broad range of contemporary artists across a wide variety of media including Tracey Emin, Spencer Finch, Mona Hatoum, Darren Almond, Cornelia Parker, and the writer Ian McEwan.

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