Artangel presents Afterness: a major new exhibition on Orford Ness

Laboratory 1 on Orford Ness. The first atomic weapon test cell

This summer Orford Ness will host 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 will open 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. 

Beacon.black, a new 24-hour radio station conceived by DJ and producer Brian d’Souza, mixing sounds from Orford Ness’s nature and culture also launches 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. 

Locations

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 will house recordings by Iain Chambers and Chris Watson in a ‘Library of Sounds’.

Shelter on Orford Ness to inspire sculpture by Alice Channer

Shelter

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 will use 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 will be 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 will be housed inside The Armoury.

" Orford Ness has a long history of art projects and we're really excited to see how the landscape and former military structures will inspire these new works of art across the site."
- Glen Pearce, Site Manager, Orford Ness

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 Friday for the following week.

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