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Top 10 continues at The Nottingham Contemporary

13th Jun 2016

Category: Under our roof

Tagged:Top 10, Nottingham, Attractions

Comfort Lettings Partner, Tom Kite, visits the Nottingham Contemporary for a dose of culture, and to find out what makes this one of Nottingham’s most visited attractions.

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Despite living in Nottingham for the last 13 years and the Nottingham Contemporary now in its sixth year of being open, this was my first visit.  I was keen to experience something I wouldn’t perhaps choose to go to, so went with an open mind.

The day started off like many who may have visited the Contemporary with a few photos outside.  You can’t help but be drawn to the impressive architecture, especially against the backdrop of the Broadmarsh Centre!

Through the front doors and you're straight into the gift shop and reception.  First things first, find out how much it is and pay…except on discussion with a staff member, it turns out it's free...Bonus!  Apparently, the gallery is funded through a combination of sources from local and national government, as well as lottery and the City’s Universities. We were given a brochure of the exhibition that was being displayed and told which gallery to start in.

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Through the large doors into Gallery One and immediately I was thrown into some confusion.  It was not clear to me what the collection was about – a metal canoe, a table with some belongings and burnt wood, an oil painting, a silver plaque and so on.  There were some laminated signs on the wall that had explanations on, and on some reading, they started to bring these objects to life and weave a story as to how they have become connected.  Then, under the next sign, a dehumidifier…was this part of the exhibition?  I was quickly reminded of a story that had made the news just a few weeks ago when someone had left a pair of glasses on the floor in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and gallery goers started to take photographs of them.  I decided after a few minutes, this was probably to help with the humidity.  We moved on.

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Into the next room, and we were plunged into darkness.  A projector was playing a piece of video about looms and fabric being weaved together.  There was a piano in the next room that was connected to the room we were in and it was playing some slightly disjointed classical music.  The rooms were divided by lots of fabric drapes hanging down – it reminded me of those coloured things you’d have over the back door to keep the flies out of your house in 1987.  Were we supposed to go through them to the piano room?  We tried, but a chap shook his head; clearly this was part of the exhibition.  OK, back through the door then.

We skipped through the piano room – it turns out the fabric that was woven on the loom in the video piece was translated into the piano music – hence the slightly odd sound.  It was interesting though and was not something I’d ever have thought of!

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The final split-rooms held (in my opinion) the showpieces of the exhibition.  In the first half were huge silver looking sculptures – apparently a particle that had been blown up 1 million times its actual size.  In the following room were thousands of glass balls with a 10m viewing platform.  They were the dots that made up the small part of an image which if you blurred your eyes, you were supposed to see.  Whilst impressive, I couldn’t quite make it out.

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Next stop was the café and gift shop.  Somewhere I will visit again, even if not going to an exhibition.  A lovely standalone bar/café that is a great addition to the Gallery, and well worth a visit in its own right.  The gift shop had plenty interesting art pieces, as well as lots of cycling regalia, for some reason.  I picked up some hand drawn bicycle top trumps for no apparent reason, but I am hoping they might come in handy on a long journey sooner or later.

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On the whole, the trip had been thoroughly enjoyable, and whilst not something I would have naturally visited, found myself immersed at points throughout the morning.  This was evident when I came out after what felt like an hour which turned out to be three.  Not only is this venue entirely free to attend, it is also something that periodically changes, meaning no two visits will likely be the same.  In addition, it was hosted by friendly and helpful staff – all who seemed happy to answer any question, however silly they may have been!

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for new exhibitions, and there is no doubt in my mind as to why this features in Nottingham’s top 10 attractions.

Tom Kite

Comfort Partner

An experienced Nottingham Property Specialist and a Founding Partner of Comfort Lettings.

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