In the Days of the Comet: the dazzling 'British Art Show 7'

Highlights of the ambitious and influential exhibition of British contemporary art
Roger Hiorns, Untitled (2005-2010)

1 / 8 Roger Hiorns, Untitled (2005-2010)

Steven Claydon, Untitled-Trom Bell (2011)

2 / 8 Steven Claydon, Untitled-Trom Bell (2011)

Sarah Lucas, NUDS (2009)

3 / 8 Sarah Lucas, NUDS (2009)

Nathaniel Mellors, Our House (The Object) (2010)

4 / 8 Nathaniel Mellors, Our House (The Object) (2010)

Matthew Darbyshire, An exhibition for modern living (2011)

5 / 8 Matthew Darbyshire, An exhibition for modern living (2011)

Charles Avery, Untitled (2010)

6 / 8 Charles Avery, Untitled (2010)

Sarah Lucas, NUDS (2009)

7 / 8 Sarah Lucas, NUDS (2009)

Karla Black (foreground), & Wolfgang Tillmans (background), (2011)

8 / 8 Karla Black (foreground), & Wolfgang Tillmans (background), (2011)

British Art Show 7 presents an overview of contemporary British artists (until 17 April). Organised by the Hayward Gallery and held at the Southbank Centre, curators Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton have selected thirty-nine artists on the grounds of their significant contribution to contemporary art in the last five years, from 2005 to 2010.

There are installations by Sarah Lucas, whose work deals with the ways in which sexual identity becomes encoded in everyday objects, and Roger Hiorns, who investigates alchemical reactions of ideas, actions and materials. Artwork by Charles Avery, whose works explore the inhabitants, cosmology and topology of an imaginary island, is also amongst the featured exhibitors.

Subtitled In the Days of the Comet, the exhibition takes its theme from the H.G Wells novel of the same name. The novel is based around the changing of the world into a Utopia after a comet releases a green gas that alters mankind. As it transpires, the shift is due to an alien force, however what is crucial about the title is the fact that the 'days' which Wells refers to are not only those of the Utopian transformation, but all the days of recorded history. The exhibition, like the novel, aims to encapsulate and draw together the past, the present and the future.

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