During the 1950s and 1960s, an extraordinary patron of the arts, Ruth Borchard, built up an unparalleled collection of 100 self-portraits by British and Irish artists. Ruth Borchard died in 2000, leaving behind both this astonishing collection and also the legacy of supporting contemporary self-portraiture, a legacy revived in 2011 through the inauguration of the Ruth Borchard Next Generation Collection. Continuing Ruth Borchard’s project into the twenty-first century, the Next Generation Collection of self-portraits by contemporary British and Irish artists ensures the Collection remains vital and vivid, and that its inheritance endures beyond Ruth Borchard’s lifetime.
The Next Generation Collection currently consists of 66 self-portraits and is continually growing, brought together through purchases from the biennial Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize. The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation will be the first occasion that the Next Generation Collection is shown in its entirety, alongside a selection from the Original Collection to initiate a dialogue between the 20th and 21st century works.
The fundamental tenet of the Next Generation Collection is to bring together diverse artists, rarely traditional portraitists, who briefly, inquisitively, turn their eye upon themselves.This exhibition reveals that contemporary self-portraiture is continually intriguing, significant and ever evolving. The curious paradox of the intimate familiarity of one’s face and yet its strange foreignness when scrutinised through another’s gaze endures perpetually.