In the late 1960s, artists on both sides of the Atlantic turned away from the enclosed spaces of the studio and gallery and went out into the landscape to forge new forms of art. This art encompassed a wide range of practices and attitudes, including elements of sculpture, performance and photography, and went under several names: Land art, earth art, process art and ecologic art, among others. Of these terms, Land art has come to be most widely used internationally.
Artists working in Britain were part of this phenomenon, but here Land art took distinct forms: predominantly Conceptual and ephemeral, handmade and organic. The key strategies developed in the UK included the photographic documentation of actions, the positioning of walking and travelling as creative acts, an exploration of locality and a keen awareness of rural traditions and contexts.
Drawn largely from the Arts Council Collection, this exhibition explored how landscape and nature came to be key concerns of Conceptual art in Britain in the 1960s and 70s. Many of our most significant British artists used landscape and nature in radical new ways and reconfigured one of the oldest subjects of art into one of the most dynamic and vital forms of art today.
Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain 1966–1979 was a touring exhibition organised by the Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London and curated by Nicholas Alfrey, Joy Sleeman and Ben Tufnell.