Artangel presents Afterness: a major new exhibition on Orford Ness

Orford Ness is currently hosting Afterness, a major new art exhibition presented by Artangel and featuring work by a collection of international artists.

Artangel produces and presents extraordinary art in unexpected places. For over thirty years, they have generated some of the most widely discussed art of recent times, including prominent large-scale projects with artists who have become household names in the UK. 

Presented in partnership with the National Trust, Afterness opened on 1 July 2021 with new works by poet Ilya Kaminsky, artists Alice Channer, Emma McNally and Tatiana Trouvé and an installation featuring sound recordings made on Orford Ness over many years by Iain Chambers and Chris Watson., a new 24-hour radio station conceived by DJ and producer Brian d’Souza, mixing sounds from Orford Ness’s nature and culture also launched on 1 July as the first in a series of commissions performed, filmed and recorded on site and shared online, including new works by London-based artists Paul Maheke and Rachel Pimm.

The work continues the long history of art projects on Orford Ness and is the start of a two-year partnership with Artangel. 

" island of secrets that’s its own work of art."
- Laura Cummings, The Observer



The artworks are spread out across Orford Ness along a six mile round trip walk from the jetty. A guide to the artworks and their locations is available on arrival. 

The Black Beacon at Orford Ness, to host Artangel exhibition

The Black Beacon

The Black Beacon is a distinctive wooden structure built in the 1920s to house an experimental radio apparatus. To the outside world it looked like a marine navigation beacon, but this was not the case - in reality, it was a secret homing beacon for military aircraft. As part of the Afterness project, it house's recordings by Iain Chambers and Chris Watson in a ‘Library of Sounds’.

Shelter on Orford Ness to inspire sculpture by Alice Channer


This small deserted shelter situated near the Black Beacon was part of the AWRE central complex and was once a laboratory used for vibration testing. Like most buildings on Orford Ness it probably had many other uses. Artist Alice Channer uses it as the starting point for her latest sculpture.

The derelict interior of Lab 1 at Orford Ness

Lab 1

Completed in 1956, this was the first of six atomic weapons test cells constructed by AWRE from Aldermaston. It was used for for both mechanical and vibration testing and for drop tests. Now this derelict structure is transformed by a new installation by French-Italian artist Tatiana Trouvé.

The Armoury at Orford Ness

The Armoury

The Armoury was built in the 60s to house nuclear bombs being tested at Orford Ness. A large-scale graphite drawing by London based artist Emma McNally inspired by the entangled systems and histories of Orford Ness is housed inside The Armoury.

" Make a trip to Orford Ness this summer. I very much doubt you will be disappointed."
- Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

The artworks are designed to complement the landscape and existing information will remain in place so you can discover some of the stories and secrets of Orford Ness during your visit.

Access to the exhibition will be part of standard admission tickets, which will be released each Thursday to allow two weeks of advance booking on a rolling basis.

Visit the Artangel website for more details about the Afterness project and their previous large-scale projects in unexpected places with leading artists.