Exploring a pivotal period in British practice, which changed understandings of art irrevocably.
Although the term ‘concept art’ had been used in the early 1960s, it was not until later in the decade that Conceptual Art emerged as a definable movement. Happening more or less simultaneously across Europe, North America and South America, it argued for an art for which the idea (or concept) behind the work is more important than the finished object.
Tate Britain’s spring show attempts to trace the course of conceptual art in the UK from its origin in the 1960s until the late 1970s – encompassing a defining period in British history that takes in the first Labour government of Harold Wilson and the election of Margaret Thatcher.
The exhibition gathers together artists who set out to think beyond the limits of traditional practice – predominantly using text and photography to place in question the material, aesthetic and philosophical conditions and purpose of art – and which in certain cases led to a direct engagement with society and issues of identity politics.