At the centre of a programme devoted to rethinking our relationship with the environment is Messums’ 13th century tithe barn. The largest in the country, the barn gallery becomes a turbine hall for the imagination this summer starting with Tideline, a group exhibition running from 14 May – 3 July 2022.
Made of limestone and sitting on a reef of Upper Jurassic Tisbury coral 24 miles from the nearest beach at Rockley Sands in Poole, Messums’ historic gallery bears witness to the action of water over millennia as maker and unmaker of landscape.
‘At a time of accelerated shifts in sea levels and marine life brought on by human activity, Tideline examines artist responses to that most contested space, the littoral landscape. The area between land and sea carries with it the history of our earliest evolution, and remains one of the principal spaces for mankind’s dwelling. 634 million people live within a 10 vertical metre distance of current shorelines. This liminal environment, where animals and plants interact differently, pushed and pulled by rising and falling tides, holds both the threat to our future security as well as some of its solutions.’ Johnny Messum
The artists selected engage and expand our understanding of this extraordinary ecosystem and bellwether to change. Their work sets out not just to alert and inform, but to key into our empathy with the underwater environment, to sow the seeds of our imagination and drum up our own sense of agency for change. They remind us of human ingenuity’s boundless desire for discovery, and radiate with a light of possibility, inviting us to problem-solve and think the unthinkable.