Wolfgang Tillmans, Gedser, 2004      Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Wolfgang Tillmans, Courtesy Maureen Paley, London

There Not There brought together the work of twelve contemporary artists including Jasper Johns, Michael Craig-Martin and Runa Islam. Working in a variety of media including painting, photography and film, these artists have interrogated the boundary between the seemingly opposite notions of absence and presence. Despite their differences in approach, the artists share a common fascination with the ideas of disappearance, transformation and erasure. These themes emerge from the artists’ engagement with the natural world, the urban environment and human relationships.






Paul Seawright, Tuesday 3d April 1972, 1988 Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Paul Seawright

Curated by the students of The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA Curating the Art Museum, There Not There was conceived in response to the temporary closure of The Courtauld Gallery for a major redevelopment project, Courtauld Connects. This ambitious project saw the transformation of The Courtauld and its Gallery, providing visitors with an experience to match the quality of The Courtauld’s collection. Drawing from The Courtauld Gallery and Arts Council Collections, There Not There comes at an important moment of transition for The Courtauld as it reimagines its historic collection for a contemporary audience.



The month-long run of the exhibition included an exciting programme of events such as curators’ tours, lunchtime talks and an artists’ talk.


For more information, including a history of The Courtauld Gallery, an interview with the curators of There Not There, and essays related to the exhibition’s themes, please see our Learning Resource.


We are grateful to Argile for their beautiful Terre de Bohême paint.