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Friday 16 June 2023

'Life Is More Important Than Art' is now open at Whitechapel Gallery

Featuring work by William Cobbing, Susan Hiller, Matthew Krishanu and Janette Parris among others.

Life Is More Important Than Art is now open at the Whitechapel Gallery, featuring works by Rana Begum, William Cobbing, Sarah Dobai, Susan Hiller, Matthew Krishanu, Jerome, Janette Parris, John Smith, Alia Syed, Mitra Tabrizian, Mark Wallinger and Osman Yousefzada.

William Cobbing, Susan Hiller, Matthew Krishanu and Janette Parris have all previously exhibited at Matt's Gallery.

Taking inspiration from African-American writer and novelist James Baldwin, who proposed that life is more important than art … that is why art is important; the exhibition explores the intersection of art and everyday life and the role of the contemporary art institution during a time of uncertainty and change.

The exhibition maps dynamic histories of migration and difference, with a focus on London and the East End. Representative of, and animated by, the distinctive and radical history of Whitechapel Gallery, Life Is More Important Than Art points to the critical role that art can play in both reflecting lived experience and opening up new possibilities for thinking, feeling and dreaming.

At a time when the cost of living crisis is causing severe financial hardship and the after-effects of the pandemic are still being felt, we consider the role of art and the art institution in everyday life. What importance can we attach to art alongside more pressing concerns?

The exhibition is part of a summer-long, multidisciplinary programme of exhibitions and events.

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