Exhibition – Arthur Lanyon ‘Arcade Laundry’

17 - 09 - 2020

If you’re visiting St Ives this September, we highly recommend a visit to the Anima Mundi Gallery to experience first hand, the imagination and talent of internationally renowned artist, Arthur Lanyon.

His exhibition ‘Arcade Laundry’ is presented until the end of September (online previews are also available).


Anima Mundi is one of St Ives’ well known contemporary art galleries, located in a former Christian Science reading rooms in the centre of the town. It was founded by Joseph Clarke and has hosted over 100 exhibitions in the last twenty years from a diverse selection of contemporary artists. The Anima Mundi Gallery offers international collectors a unique and direct opportunity to experience first hand, the talent and complexity in techniques of its artists, whilst supporting them through collaborations with museums and art centres around the world. 


“I am often asked why we are located here at the end of a peninsula at the far end of the land, and how can we survive so far from the apparent centre? I don’t think I’m alone in searching for a moments peace from the frenzied pulse of 21st century civilisation, and wondering why we, and our society have become ever disconnected from our natural surroundings and arguably in turn our inner selves”.  

Joseph Clarke, Gallery Director.


The Anima Mundi Gallery is a supporter of philanthropic works via collaborations with charities and organisations including Funding Neuro, Grenfell Tower Community Action Fund, The House of St Barnabas, SpectrumShelterbox, ArtCOP21, Cape Farewell and The Green Party among others.


Arthur Lanyon is an extremely interesting, British artist, born in 1985 into a family of already well claimed artists. His father was the painter Matthew Lanyon and his Grandfather, the celebrated, influential and world renowned modernist painter, Peter Lanyon. 

Arthur Lanyon lives and works from a studio near Penzance, in Cornwall and is represented by Anima Mundi Gallery in St Ives. He focuses on painting multi-scale and energetic figurative motifs, in a gestural and abstracted language. Supposedly the truth about abstract art, is in the form of its colours, lines, textures, patterns, composition and process. These formal qualities describe what the art looks like and how it is created and abstract art in particular, is an exploration of all of these formal qualities. 

Arthur Lanyon has made quite an acclaimed presence in the industry, having won the Hans Brinker Painting Award in Amsterdam in 2007 and gained a first class degree in Fine Art from Cardiff University in 2008. Upon graduating he was featured in Saatchi’s ‘New Sensations’ exhibition. Later in 2014 his work was in the long-list for the Aesthetica Art Prize and was included in the award’s published anthology. Much of his work is held in private collections all over the world but his debut solo exhibition ‘Return to Whale’ was first presented here in St Ives at the Anima Mundi in 2016. Gallery. This was then followed by his second exhibition, ‘White Chalk Lines’ in 2018 with ‘Arcade Laundry’ being his latest and current exhibition, a solo presentation of multi-scale.


Arthur Lanyon describes his approach to painting as a sense of illumination.

“Often my work is punctuated by pockets of primary colour. The glowing orb of the sky, a circle can be an eye or a sun, a bowl of suns or a head of eyes. A counterpoint, a starting place and a face. Interestingly it is the sun and the mandala that often provide stimulus for a child’s first drawings of humans. The formation of which begins from the core and radiates out into peripheral limbs. This kind of contemplation may be tightly interrelated with explorative and playful behaviour where intention is to understand by looking at the start of things, and so awareness must follow action. Naivety draws out playful lines of thinking, a clarity of vision that is often blinded by experience. The character of painting is atypical to logical reasoning and like any good conversation it comes in the form of contrasts”. 

He started drawing with an abstract vision from a young age, giving his drawings their exact depiction in their titles…

A few of our favourites include ‘Footsteps on a beach with a shark approaching’ and ‘A man with cobwebs on his nose’. 

Arthur Lanyon later describes spending time in an amusement arcade, wondering out onto the street to see an aptly name laundrette opposite named ‘Arcade Laundry’. 

“I sat waiting for clean whites when quite involuntarily, my vision distorted, reorganising itself into an altered state, resulting from a ‘scintillating scotoma’ – a sort of painless migraine. It was like tuning in to an invisible data stream that held comparative visual echoes of the bright, colourful and gordy computer games just played. From the street to the sheet, inner and outer experiences were bundled together…”. 

“There is a defining place in Vietnam where humid and dense green pinnacles of mountain pop-up and swelter amongst flat crop plains tethered to an oily blue sky. One of the mountains contains ‘Paradise Cave’ which is of vast proportions, artificially lit and big enough for a Boeing 747 to fly through the heart of it. A blanket of life sizzles all the way up to a hidden hobbit sized entrance. Plummeting temperature ensues when following a few raggedy steps inside, then the vista opens out and literally takes your breath away. The sense of scale reverberates right through you, from the ground up, right through your feet, hitting the roof of the skull. There is a proportion of magical realism within this spectacle. A cathedral contained within a mountain, the floor and the ceiling reaching out to one another in arms of stalagmites and stalactites. The lighting rakes across the surface as if chipping away at the texture of deep, buried, time and geology”. 

“You are dancing with the shadows inside your head and filled with a sublime sense of magnitude and insignificance in a place where the parameters of space can be felt as if it were a tangible part of your own body.

My works harbour a cave-light-arcade experience with symbolic counterpoints but it also shares a similar dense and chunky motif of what I call ‘seilschaft’ (a climbing term for rope-team). It feels counter-intuitive to paint with white over light ground but denying the clarity of contrast can actually help to free up grand gestures. Half visible, this undercoat cures in the sun just long enough to gain tack. Upon which the tar-like surface is dressed with dry pigment forming a smooth bond which is burnished like leather. This process covers entire surfaces of some paintings. In a balance to define positive and negative space I then carve, scrape and lift out slabs of action from favourite memories and two-faced drawings; a flaming sun wheeled monster truck upside down as a bowl of suns, the combined tin-man-icarus-space-car, a praying mantis which attacked the camera on the steps to the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia, and two jealous curs haunched on their hind quarters in an intense stand-off.

The experience in ‘Arcade Laundry’ was the trigger that’s positioned my painting practice on a ‘zebra crossing’ like a belay between four visual pinnacles. A progressive link between the arcade, the scintillating scotoma, altered states of consciousness, the mountain cave and the essence of child’s drawing”. 

Arthur Lanyon, 2020

To understand more about the life and work of Arthur Lanyon, we highly recommend visiting his exhibition ‘Arcade Laundry’ at the Anima Mundi Gallery before you leave St Ives!

Event website: https://www.animamundigallery.com/exhibition-arthur-lanyon-arcade-laundry

Follow @animamundigallery


How to find Arthur Lanyon’s exhibition ‘Arcade Laundry’ …

Address: Sreet-an-Pol, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2DS

What else is on in St Ives this month?

There are currently 7 exhibitions going on in St Ives for this month…

Exhibition – Studio Gallery: Stephanie Sandercock ‘Hayle to Halzephron’

29 Aug 2020 – 26 Sep 2020

Penwith Gallery, St Ives


Exhibition Members Autumn Show

29 Aug – 31 Oct 2020

Penwith Gallery, St Ives


Exhibition – Angela Annesley, Karen McEndoo and Ria Poole ‘Equilibrium: Wild Walking Through the Landscape’

29 Aug 2020 – 26 Sep 2020

Penwith Gallery, St Ives


Exhibition – Arthur Lanyon ‘Arcade Laundry’

15 Aug – 26 Sep 2020

Anima Mundi, St Ives


Exhibition – 7 Crows

01 Mar 2020 – 31 Dec 2020

Penwith Gallery, St Ives


Exhibition – Modern Art and St Ives Naum Gabo

27 Jul – 27 Sep. 2020

Tate, St Ives


Exhibition – Naum Gabo

25 Jan – 27 Sep 2020

Tate, St Ives


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