press release

Acquired for the nation in 2014, Sir Anthony van Dyck’s last self-portrait takes centre stage in this striking exhibition exploring the concepts of physical and metaphorical turning in portraiture.

This is the first ever exhibition curated by West Midlands born and internationally renowned artist, John Stezaker, who takes Van Dyck’s dramatic turned pose as his starting point.

Showcasing major loans from the National Portrait Gallery alongside highlights from Birmingham’s collection, the display will create a spectacle of turning in the gallery and will mirror the way the viewer moves around the space.

From Rembrandt and Rossetti to Picasso and Bomberg, 'Turning to See' is filled with celebrated names from art history. There’s also the chance to view fragile works on paper not normally on display, such as Burne-Jones’ sketches for the Pygmalion series from Birmingham’s collection.

Born in 1949 in Worcester, John Stezaker is an internationally renowned artist best known for his striking photographic collages using vintage movie stills, postcards and book illustrations. His work is in international collections and his solo exhibitions include a major retrospective at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London in 2011. ‘Turning to See’ will include new collages by John Stezaker, inspired by Birmingham’s collection and the theme of turning. John Stezaker is represented by The Approach, London.

Free entry.

Van Dyck’s Self-portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery following a major public appeal with the Art Fund and thanks to the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and others.