The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House
20 June - 21 July 2013

Tacita Dean, Bubble House, 1999, 16mm film projection. Courtesy the artist, Frith Street Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris/New York

Imagining Islands: Artists and Escape
responds to The Courtauld Gallery’s Summer Showcase, Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld in the ‘20s, and draws on works from The Courtauld Gallery and the Arts Council Collection.

In 1891, the artist Paul Gauguin travelled from Paris to the Pacific island of Tahiti in pursuit of a haven away from Western civilisation. Artists have long been drawn to the elusive ideals and tantalising fantasies that islands embody.

This trans-historical exhibition explores artists’ fascination with other worlds, real and imagined, and the perennial search for utopia, considering the concept of the island in poetic, evocative, and experimental ways.

Imagining Islands has been curated by students on the MA course Curating the Art Museum.

Events and education

Selected works

 About the project


detail of plate with two apples, a pear and potted plant on table surface with an easel behind
Charles Avery's
    The Islanders

Interview with Avery


Open daily 10am-6pm (last admission 5.30pm)

Social media

  Follow us on Twitter: @MACurating

The Gallery Blog: read about the making of the exhibition
The Gallery Blog: read about the installation


Exhibition Catalogue

Teachers' Resource
Teachers' Resources are intended for use by secondary schools and colleges and by teachers of all subjects for their own research.

View a video of a recent lecture by islands scholar Barney Samson.


Sponsored by

Alexandra Ashcroft

View the MA Curating the Art Museum archive