fbpx Press release: London Zeitgeist | CIRCA 20:21



Press release: London Zeitgeist




1-31 July 2021
CIRCA, Piccadilly Circus, W1
Preview the films HERE

Bold new video works by five artists of the moment living or working in London will take over the world’s largest public screens this July in London, Seoul and Tokyo. Curated by Norman Rosenthal, ‘LONDON ZEITGEIST’ will comprise five independent films by Larry Achiampong, Alvaro Barrington, Matt Copson, artist duo Rosie Hastings and Hannah Quinlan, and Anne Imhof, together forming a bold and comprehensive showcase of the most promising artists within a generation to emerge from London.

This group exhibition adopts its title from Rosenthal’s 1982 exhibition ‘Zeitgeist’ that was held in Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau almost forty years ago, and which was arguably one of the most historically significant global painting surveys of the 20th century, bringing together 45 of the world’s most driven and symbolically heroic artists of the moment. Rosenthal’s unwavering commitment and capacity to embolden the great talent of the time has become a defining characteristic of his career. In 1981, Rosenthal introduced artists such as Baselitz, Kiefer, Polke and Richter to an audience beyond Germany in ‘A New Spirit In Painting’ and helped launch the careers of  Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and many others with ‘Sensation’ in 1997 at the Royal Academy of Art in London:

“That complex German word “Zeitgeist” (Time/Spirit) that more and more has entered the English language – just like “Kindergarten” once did (!) – naturally relates to place as well as time. Each of the four young artists chosen I believe address these issues subjectively, inevitably, sometimes obliquely, yet each in a “Spectacular” and “Beautiful” way onto the iconic Piccadilly Lights screen. They then are transmitted to the other side of the globe. They are pictures both of issues and fantasies that obsess four individual artists living and working in London, forever a huge urban national centre, and that hopefully too will touch audiences around the world.” 

Norman Rosenthal

Each work will be screened at the following times and locations throughout the month of July:

London, Piccadilly Lights at 20:21 BST
Seoul, Coex K-POP Square at 20:21 KST
Tokyo, Yunika Vision, Shinjuku at 09:00 JST
Online via WWW.CIRCA.ART at 20:21 BST

*Seoul, Coex K-POP Square at 20:10 KST only for Anne Imhof’s presentation of ‘One’ on the 8th, 16th & 24th July 2021

This month, a series of four hand-signed, limited edition prints by Alvaro Barrington, Matt Copson, Larry Achiampong and Rosie Hastings & Hannah Quinlan are available to purchase for £100 (+VAT where applicable) on the CIRCA website until 31 July. Created in support of the #CIRCAECONOMY, 70% of the profits are circulated back into helping build an economy that commissions new public art in our communities, nurtures more diverse cultural industries, and supports emerging creative potential with the distribution of cash grants to artists and institutions. For more info, click here.

Alvaro Barrington (1 – 7th July) ‘Trust Your Global Stranger’
“I looked at a lot of clouds over the last few years. I’ve looked at them from different angles and over the years more and more from the airplane. It has come to mean many different things to me….cycles of weather changes…… ideas about the world outside of this globe and lately it has meant nature. During lockdown it became nature unorganized by humans..it’s just doing its thing and will continue to do its thing when we are no longer on this planet.”

Anne Imhof (8th, 16th & 24th July) ‘One’
ONE is a work made for the public.  

Originally created for the Circa 20:20 New Years Eve countdown to 2021, I am honoured for it to now be a part of Norman Rosenthal’s curation. The video embodies my hopes for 2021 to be a year of change, marking a new period for us all where we stand up for freedom and peace while standing together against structural racism and structural misogyny everywhere. 

The work is derived from an experiment of isolating a key element from my performance ’SEX’ and displacing it into a natural setting — the seaside landscape of Normandy. The collaborative nature of my work is cyphered down to a performance of one. Eliza Douglas futilely whips the incoming tide as the sun sets beyond the horizon. The curving horizon is interrupted only be the faint gesture of a lighthouse in the distance, creating a dialogue with the imagined British shore beyond.”

Matt Copson (9 – 15th July) ‘Gargoyle’
“For CIRCA I will show an animation of a gargoyle jutting out from the wall of LEDs, tongue outstretched, dripping water from its mouth, eyes scowling. Occasionally it coughs up junk (M&Ms, milk, coins, roaches) and spits them out like a cat would a hairball. The background is pure black, as if the gargoyle is jutting out from the nearby architecture” 

Larry Achiampong (17 – 23rd July) ‘Reliquary 2: A Letter of 4 Chapters’
“The thing that has excited me about being a part of this project is not just the opportunity to show something outside, which, where art is concerned, I believe has a stronger traction in getting more people who are usually excluded, involved with art. But the challenging process of storytelling both through these gigantic screens, to bring something to the table that means something, and will hopefully connect with people.”

Rosie Hastings and Hannah Quinlan (25 – 31st July) ‘Everything is folly in this world That does not give us pleasure’
“For Circa we will focus on the act of queer dance as a space of freedom, resistance and identity formation. The film will look at the gesture of dance as forming a bridge between the alienated individual confined to a domestic world (with its inherent ideological burden of heterosexuality, property relations and traditional gender roles) and the broader LGBTQ culture/community. The hedonistic joy of dancing is reflected in the text from La Traviata: 

 “Everything is folly in this world
That does not give us pleasure.”



Alvaro Barrington (b. 1984, Venezuela)was raised between the Caribbean and Brooklyn, New York, by a network of relatives. An unwavering commitment to the community informs his wide-ranging practice. While Barrington considers himself primarily a painter, his artistic collaborations encompass exhibitions, performances, concerts, fashion, philanthropy and contributions to the Notting Hill Carnival in London.

Larry Achiampong (b. 1984, London) solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. With works that examine his communal and personal heritage – in particular, the intersection between pop culture and the postcolonial position, Achiampong crate-digs the vaults of history. These investigations examine constructions of ‘the self’ by splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal entrenched socio-political contradictions in contemporary society.

Matt Copson (b. 1992, Oxford) studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, and lives and works in London, England. Recent exhibitions include Coming of Age, High Art, Paris, France, 2020; Gred, Blorange, Yeluple, Swiss Institute, New York, USA, 2019; Down boy, Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York, USA, 2019; Matt Copson, Mönchehaus Museum, Gosler, Germany, 2018; Blorange, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris, France, 2018; Eggy and Seedy (with Alastair Mackinven), Reading International, England, 2017; Sob Story, High Art, Paris, France, 2016; A Woodland Truce, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, England, 2016.

Rosie Hastings & Hannah Quinlan (both b.1991, London and Newcastle) live and work in South-East London. Working across film, drawing, installation, performance and fresco, Hannah and Rosie address the sociocultural and political structures that reinforce conservatism and discriminatory practices within and around the LGBTQ+ community. Their work archives the politics, histories and aesthetics of queer spaces and culture in the West, and proposes strategies for the redistribution of power in relation to gender, class and race.

Anne Imhof (b. 1978, Giessen, Germany) imbues bodies and things with excessive libidinal charge, choreographing figures and staging objects to render intimate portraits of radical dis-identification. Ephemeral, yet violent longings are distributed through avatars of the artist’s self, particularly Eliza Douglas, her artistic partner and muse. Douglas first took center stage in Imhof’s Faust (2017) at the German pavilion during the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.

Sir Norman Rosenthal (b.1944, Cambridge) is a London-based freelance curator. He first rose to prominence as the director and chief curator of the Royal Academy, a position he held between 1977 and 2008. During his tenure he worked towards assembling a variety of prodigious exhibitions, including Italian Art of the Twentieth Century (1989), the controversial Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection (1997), and the well-regarded Anish Kapoor retrospective of 2009. He left the Academy in 2008 to pursue a variety of self-directed projects.

CIRCA is a pioneering digital art platform that presents new ideas, every evening at 20:21 BST, on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights and broadcast across a global network of screens in Seoul and Tokyo. Rooted in time and bringing people together, each month CIRCA invites a different artist to create new work that considers our world circa 2021.

Since launching in October 2020 on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights, CIRCA has commissioned work from rising and established names including Ai Weiwei, Cauleen Smith, Eddie Peake, Anne Imhof, Patti Smith, Tony Cokes, Emma Talbot, Vivienne Westwood, James Barnor, David Hockney and Nikita Gale.

Created by artist Josef O’Connor, CIRCA pioneered a new way for the public to engage with art and support creative communities through the sale of affordable prints by exhibiting artists. Each month, #CIRCAECONOMY profits are circulated back into helping build an economy that commissions new public art in our communities, nurturing more diverse cultural industries, and helping support emerging creative potential.


‘LONDON ZEITGEIST’ has kindly been supported by Thaddaeus Ropac, Covri-Mora and The Heart of London Business Alliance.

CIRCA has been made possible by Landsec, landlord of Piccadilly Lights, who donated media space as a helpful boost to the cultural scene in London’s West End. We are grateful to Piccadilly Lights, Yunika Vision, CJ Powercast, Ocean Outdoor, Heart of London, Barakat Contemporary, Lisson, and Gagosian for their continued support enabling our free public art programme. 

We would especially like to thank Norman Rosenthal for his relentless support to the CIRCA project and generosity given to the creative community at large throughout his career. 

For more information, please contact: