Hollow Earth: Art, Caves and the Subterranean Imaginary

Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RX

Tel: 01392 665858

Man looking at painting in an opulent room


"A powerful and thought-provoking new exhibition", Helen Gordon, Apollo

Dark, dangerous and unstable, caves are places of visions and experiences both sacred and profane. Hollow Earth is a major thematic art exhibition bringing together a wide range of responses to the image and idea of the cave. It includes painting, photography, sculpture, and video, as well as objects from RAMM's collection, from ancient history through to modern and contemporary art.

For thousands of years these portals to the deep past have captivated artists, and as society has evolved artistic responses have also shifted. Following 19th-century discoveries of rock paintings, caves have been imagined as spaces of revelation, providing clues to the origin of our collective impulse to produce and display images. After World War II artists came to associate the cave with the primordial creative space and a refuge from the atomic era. Today, in an age of ecological breakdown, caves are portals to both the deep past and troubled futures, places where species and time intermingle.

Devon holds a unique place in history as the birthplace of cave-hunting, declared by William Pengelly, the Victorian pioneer of systemic cave research in England. The county contains some of the UK's most important prehistoric cave deposits. Objects from RAMM's collection will be on display including a selection of extinct animal bones and antiquities found in caves from around the world. Spanning works by more than 30 artists, the exhibition descends into the depths to consider questions of thresholds, darkness and prehistory.

The exhibition is divided into five sections and echoes the journey into a cave, starting at the threshold and ending in the depths. Hollow Earth features major works by the Victorian painter Sir Joseph Wright of Derby, famous Surrealist René Magritte, abstract artist Henry Moore, contemporary filmmaker Michael Ho, and Guyanese expressionist painter Aubrey Williams, as well as new commissions including large-scale watercolour paintings from Chioma Ebinama and a film installation by Lydia Ourahmane.

Hamed Abdalla, Lee Bontecou, Brassaï, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Steven Claydon, Matt Copson, Juan Downey, Chioma Ebinama, Mary Beth Edelson, Barry Flanagan, Ilana Halperin, Frank Heath, Ed Herring, Michael Ho, Peter Hujar, Athanasius Kircher, René Magritte, Santu Mofokeng, Henry Moore, Nadar, Lydia Ourahmane, Gordon Parks, Flora Parrott, Robert Smithson, Michelle Stuart, N.H. Stubbing, Caragh Thuring, Aubrey Williams, Joseph Wright of Derby.

‌Please note: this exhibition contains a laser artwork with flickering light, and may be unsuitable for those with epilepsy or light sensitivity.

Hollow Earth: Art, Caves and the Subterranean Imaginary is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition, developed in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary and in collaboration with Glucksman, Cork and RAMM.

This exhibition was made possible as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme. RAMM would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.

Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.



Opening Times

06/12/2023 - 07/01/2024 (6 Dec 2023 - 7 Jan 2024)

* Times vary

Follow us

What's Nearby

  1. Art Pottery

    This display shows a small selection of Art Pottery from RAMM’s collections. The pieces…

    0 miles away
  2. Festive Wildlife Decorations

    RAMM's animals are getting ready for the festivities. Decorate your own wooden bauble…

    0 miles away
  3. Project Buzz

    Project Buzz is a creative arts project involving twelve different community groups of…

    0 miles away
  1. Peter And The Test Tube Babies

    Peter and the Test Tube Babies Live at The Cavern Exeter.

    Support tbc.

    0.06 miles away
  2. Disintegration - Goth Night

    DJs playing the best gothic rock, post punk, new wave and more from the past and…

    0.06 miles away
  3. Maruja + Guests

    From obscurity to notability, Manchester four-piece Maruja's continual rise has yet to…

    0.06 miles away
  4. Vienna Youth + Guests

    Vienna Youth formed in 2016 on the burnt out coastlines of the English Riviera. After a…

    0.06 miles away
  5. Cancer Bats As Bat Sabbath

    Cancer Bats are a Canadian hardcore punk band from Toronto, Ontario. To date, they have…

    0.06 miles away
  6. Siamese (Danish Metal-core)

    Danish metal-core outfit Siamese have steadily and surely won hearts all over the world…

    0.06 miles away
  7. Continents + Support

    Continents is a Welsh metalcore band. The band were signed to Victory Records in 2012…

    0.06 miles away
  8. Rum Jungle

    Hailing from the steel city, Newcastle, Rum Jungle are one of Australia's go-to sun…

    0.06 miles away
  9. The Maisonettes, Push Bike, Kurtz & Cocodamol

    The Maisonettes are a DIY grrrl band from Exeter who have been playing together for…

    0.06 miles away
  10. Byp Presents Continents & Cut Short | Exeter

    Byp Presents Continents & Cut Short At Exeter Cavern

    0.06 miles away
  11. Altern8 - Black Friday

    Exeter's top rock/metal club night!


    0.06 miles away
  12. The Native

    The Native's roots date back to secondary school in Plymouth. Vocalist Charlie Noordewier…

    0.06 miles away
  13. Dead On A Sunday + Andrew Paley


    Darkwave rock from Denver, Colorado. Dead On A Sunday…

    0.06 miles away
Previous Next

Search for What's Nearby

Product Type
Within miles

Events Powered By

Data Thistle