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

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Symposium: Art of the Edgelands

A really fascinating topic, prolific speakers and free entry – this is Art of the Edgelands on 26th April in Spacex gallery in Exeter.

This interdisciplinary symposium will consider the significance of ‘edgelands’ and other marginal spaces, neither urban nor rural, as sites for artistic inquiry, and as cultural spaces. Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’ (open until Saturday 3 May 2014) features artworks exploring the marginal spaces of contemporary motorway landscapes. Learn more about the exhibition in the video below!

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Defined as a type of terrain ‘apparently unplanned, certainly uncelebrated and largely incomprehensible’ by environmentalist Marion Shoard, ‘edgelands’ have frequently been a source of inspiration for artists and writers.

Symposium speakers include Edward Chell, academic and lead artist of Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’; Dr. Caitlan DeSilvey, geographer and senior lecturer in Environmental Social Science, University of Exeter; Laura Oldfield Ford, artist and psycho-geographer; Joanne Lee, artist, writer, publisher and senior lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University; Dr Jos Smith, associate research fellow, University of Exeter.

Get more information and book your free place here http://spacex.org.uk/events/symposium-art-of-the-edgelands-saturday-26-april/

Text by Kati Jagel 

Is art for galleries or for lived-in spaces?

A recent video on artplayer.tv calls for rethinking art and its purpose. We are so used to seeing artworks in galleries, in purpose-built exhibition spaces with white walls and high ceilings. It is interesting to note that for most of our cultural history the situation has been radically different and that galleries are only new inventions as ‘the idea of an object as the individual expression of an artist with no utilitarian function became accepted only in the eighteenth century’ (see Bonita Kolb 2000: 23 for more).

Indeed, why should art be locked away and not be part of the everyday in our homes? This idea is more acceptable when thinking about paintings, but the Contemporary Arts Society North show how contemporary art which is often spatial, not just visual, can be installed into homes and acquire a whole new meaning – and purpose as it becomes part of interior rather than being separately exhibited. The video below is very inspiring as it encourages not just rethinking art but rethinking homes. Our current dreams of ideal homes derive from interior design magazines and from people who make or market furniture, curtains, carpets. One of the core principles of interior design, just like architecture, is that everything has to be functional – innovative, beautiful, unusual – yes, but always functional. This functionality of items and solutions comes down to their practicality whereas the function of contemporary art installations in your home could be of a different order – they can offer aesthetic pleasure, intellectual engagement and of course varied reactions of your guests…

The project ‘Art in the Home’ brought artworks from Arcade and WORKS|PROJECTS to six homes belonging to members of Contemporary Arts Society North – here is your chance to see what effect it had to both art and homes, just click on the image to watch the video:

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text by Kati Jagel