BALTIC artists pick apart the human experience

5 weeks, 10 projects and 18 artists – if you have not thought about it then now is your last chance to make your way down to Newcastle to the spin-off of the main BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art to see the last week of BALTIC 39 | FIGURE TWO.

One cannot thank BALTIC enough for making brilliant films about every single exhibition that takes place in the two gallery spaces. Personally, I think they should get a medal for keeping the arts alive in the minds of 9-5 workers who cannot stroll in the galleries all the time and who might completely forget about doing it at all, even on a day off. The important thing is that BALTIC videos are not just event coverage. Instead, the exhibiting artists talk about life itself and how it is reflected in their work. Something very fundamental and essential to human experience shines through the work of all the artists who are or have exhibited in the BALTIC and BALTIC 39… maybe they are just asked the right questions on camera?

I would like to draw your attention to the third week of BALTIC 39 | FIGURE TWO. The exhibition is subtitled as Through the Gap Increasing, but what it really seems to be about it transcoding the world as a human being. In the work of Sarah Bayliss, Amelia Bywater & Rebecca Wilcox, Rachel Gay, Maria Angelica Madero, Ninna Bohn Pedersen and Nicola Singh language is dissolved, sight is deconstructed, mother & child relationship fractured into sense memories and flowing water compared to flickering screens of modern day. Explore and be inspired by the video below…

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Text by Kati Jägel


The importance of knowing the artist

Artist films, that is, films which allow us to see the artist in person not just the art, are invaluable. One might enjoy a painting, a sculpture, a piece of theatre on its own, but getting to know the mind – and face – behind the work enables us to truly connect with the work as a creation of another human being and, therefore, expression of the experience of life itself.

The world of literature has always been fascinated by autobiographies of artists, stars and other public figures. An artist film allows for a more immediate depiction of the persona behind the artwork due to enabling us to see the man or woman the creative mind belongs to in flesh instead of thinking about him/her as an abstract figure.

BALTIC have been doing in it most exemplary – each major exhibition at the BALTIC is preceded by an informative, moving and well-researched artist film of top quality. They should really be on TV. The latest one on artplayer is about Thomas Scheibitz whose work can be seen in Gateshead until 3rd of November. After watching the film you will probably be booking the ticket as soon as possible…


(Watch by clicking on the image)

One of our newest members, Mark Deverux Projects are specially dedicated to help artists to develop and get exposure – and they have also recognized the greatness of the artist film. You may not know David Ogle yet, but after watching this film that brings you both the man and his very versatile art combining sculpture, drawing and light, the early-career artist might have made a shortcut to a new potential fan’s heart without years of exhibiting while not being known. More artist films please!



(Watch by clicking on the image)


Text by Kati Jägel

Jim Shaw inside out

The work of one of the arguably most versatile contemporary American artists Jim Shaw could be seen at the BALTIC in Gateshead until February this year. If you missed this opportunity then don’t worry – artplayer is delighted to host two brilliant videos which, when put together, give an excellent overview of both the artist and the exhibition.

Jim Shaw: The Rinse Cycle on BALTIC’s channel should be your first point of call as it uncovers some of the processes behind how the artworks came into being. Jim Shaw talks about his college years, how he wanted to be both a scientist and an artist, how he worked in Hollywood, and that doing just one thing is never enough for him. The latter shines through Shaw’s work which consists of so many components that each work looks like hundreds combined. Splashes of colour together with black-and white graphics, detailed faces and surreal landscapes – the video brings us a great selection of paintings, sculptures and even film and is a real treat as these works are related to periods of Shaw’s life and places he has lived in.


Now, to the actual exhibition at the BALTIC Culture Street sent a group of young people who take the viewer through the galleries guided by Vicky Sturrs who recalls some of the things discussed in the first video and relates them to the actual exhibition pieces. Most fascinating must be the fact that Shaw has created his own religion and that his dream worlds are so vivid and detailed on canvas unlike the abstract qualities we usually associate dreams with that it is almost spooky. It is nearly impossible not to admire Shaw, enjoy!


Text by Kati Jagel