Contemporary art Fairs United Kingdom

Take-off for Farnborough’s art show

Former aviation testing facility to host exhibitions, events and educational programmes

The wind tunnels, once “the birthplace of the jet engine”, will be transformed into a space for contemporary art. Photo: © Stefan Lange

A hangar and buildings formerly used for aerodynamics research next to TAG Farnborough Airport, around 65km south-west of London, will be transformed into a space for contemporary art by Artliner: Art & Aviation, which links artists and the aircraft industry.

The Wind Tunnels Project will consist of three-month-long shows (the organisers are looking to extend this to five) scheduled to take place every two years, in conjunction with the Farnborough International Air Show, a biennial week-long trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries that also organises a well-known public air show. Artliner will select around seven internationally renowned artists to produce works that respond to the space. The first exhibition, scheduled to open in June 2014, will be supported by a series of events and an education programme.

Significant space

The project takes its name from the site’s Grade I-listed wind tunnels, which played a pivotal role in the development of British aviation after the First World War. The site, however, has been closed to the public since the 1960s. “The wind tunnels take us back to the pioneering age of aviation and are the birthplace of the jet engine,” says the organisation’s founder, Tatiana Ojjeh, who is enthusiastic about the buildings. “When I walked into them, I knew this was one of the most thrilling spaces for contemporary art. There are aviation enthusiasts, designers and architects who have wanted to see the space for decades,” she says.

Imaginative proposal

The programme is championed by the aircraft industry and Rushmoor Borough Council, which covers Farnborough. The council’s chief executive, Andrew Lloyd, is excited about the possibilities that this kind of project can offer. “The proposed exhibition will bring the buildings back to life and enable visitors to enjoy and appreciate art in a unique setting,” he says, adding that “the proposed scale and imaginative nature of the proposal will bring commercial and economic benefits to Farnborough and the borough as a whole”.

Since it was established in 2011, Artliner has organised exhibitions at the Dubai International Air Show and the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, and a selling show of Damien Hirst and the British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby at TAG Farnborough Airport during the London Olympics in 2012.

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16 Oct 13
17:49 CET


This is an incredible space. I think I speak for many of us when I say that we are all looking forward to what Artliner will do here. They certainly have the perfect pedigree for the job and they did such a fantastic job in Geneva.

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