After proudly celebrating its 20th Anniversary year in 2022 Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead has announced its 2023 exhibitions. The impressive programme includes the highlight exhibitions Hew Locke: The Procession, currently on display as the 2022 Tate Britain Commission. For the first time this large scale installation, a colourful parade of figures, textiles and sculptures can be experienced outside London. Referencing real events and histories, the figures invite us to walk alongside them, proceeding towards an imagined future.
Chris Killip, retrospective will showcase the striking documentary photography by the late Chris Killip. This exhibition will delight visitors with evocative images of North East communities including Tyneside and Northumberland, at its heart.
A major new commission will open in July 2023 by artist Michael Rakowitz, in partnership with Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW. Inhabiting the largest gallery on Level 4, the artist will create a sprawling, immersive interior forest of trees, hedges, herbs, and medicinal plants created in collaboration with local North East organisations.
Hew Locke: The Procession. 18 February – 11 June 2023
A procession is part and parcel of the cycle of life; people gather and move together to celebrate, worship, protest, mourn, escape or even to better themselves. This is the heart of Hew Locke’s ambitious new project, The Procession, commissioned by Tate and originally presented in Tate Britain.
The Procession invites visitors to ‘reflect on the cycles of history, and the ebb and flow of cultures, people and finance and power.’ In the installation Locke says he ‘makes links with the historical after-effects of the sugar business, and revisits his artistic journey so far, including for example work with statues, share certificates, cardboard, rising sea levels, Carnival and the military.
Throughout, visitors will see figures who travel through space and time. Here, they carry historical and cultural baggage, from evidence of global financial and violent colonial control embellished on their clothes and banners, alongside powerful images of some of the disappearing colonial architecture of Locke’s childhood in Guyana.
The installation takes inspiration from real events and histories but overall, the figures invite us to walk alongside them, into an enlarged vision of an imagined future.
(Initiated and produced by Tate and curated by Elena Crippa, Senior Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art and Clarrie Wallis, former Senior Curator, Contemporary British Art with Bilal Akkouche, Assistant Curator, Contemporary British Art, Hannah Marsh, Curatorial Assistant and Dana Moreno, Curatorial Administrator)
Chris Killip, retrospective. 1 April – 3 September 2023
Baltic presents a full career retrospective by one of the UK’s most important and influential post-war documentary photographers, Chris Killip (1946–2020). The exhibition serves as the most comprehensive survey of the photographer’s work, with his images from the North East of England at its core.
Grounded in sustained immersion into the communities he photographed, Chris Killip's photographs of those affected by economic shifts throughout the 1970s and 80s in the North of England remain without parallel. Whilst marking a moment of de-industrialisation, Killip's stark yet tender observation moves beyond the urgency to record such circumstances, to affirm the value of lives he grew close to– lives that, as he once described 'had history done to them'.
(The exhibition is curated by Ken Grant and Tracy Marshall and produced in collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery, London)
Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder. 20 May – 29 October 2023
In May 2023, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art will present the first major solo exhibition by British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong. Working in film, sculpture, installation, sound, collage, music and performance, Achiampong draws on his shared and personal heritage to explore class, gender, the intersection between popular culture and the residues of colonisation. His work examines digital identities and constructions of ‘the self’, offering multiple perspectives that reveal the deeply entrenched inequalities in our society.
The exhibition in Baltic’s Level 3 gallery will include the commissioned feature-length film Wayfinder (2022) which follows a young girl’s intrepid journey across England, from Hadrian’s Wall in the North to Margate in the South, and the people and places she encounters. Set in a pandemic, Achiampong’s most ambitious film to date considers class and economic exclusion, belonging and displacement, cultural heritage and the meaning of home. Other works include the largest UK presentation of the artist’s multi-disciplinary Relic Traveller project (2017–ongoing) alongside sculpture, photographs, video and a gaming room.
(The exhibition has been organised by Turner Contemporary with MK Gallery and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. The film Wayfinder has been commissioned by Turner Contemporary with MK Gallery and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art)
Michael Rakowitz. 15 July 2023 – 26 May 2024
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national programme of 22 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict and created in partnership with Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary.
Baltic has invited Michael Rakowitz to develop a major new commission in response to the idea of conflict to be presented in the Level 4 gallery. The artist has proposed to create a sprawling, immersive interior forest of trees, hedges, herbs, and medicinal plants that will be conceived and tended to in collaboration with local organisations.
The project is imagined as a ‘Hanging Garden’, referencing the one in Babylon that is considered among the Seven Wonders of the World. The garden will be inhabited by Rakowitz’s cardboard sculptures that attempt to reappear the archaeological cultural heritage that has been looted or destroyed in Iraq and Syria since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
From the ‘seeds’ of this hanging garden Baltic will host events, workshops, grow plants and create tinctures, recipes, and poultices both onsite and offsite that promote healing and recovery for the mind and body. The garden, at the end of the exhibition, will sprawl into the city in small parts to a network of community and school gardens, expanding its footprint beyond Baltic.
(IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund: The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund is a national programme of 22 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict and created in partnership with Imperial War Museums (IWM) and 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary.
To mark the end of the First World War centenary, Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW worked together to co-commission the critically acclaimed film They Shall Not Grow Old by Academy Award winner Peter Jackson, which was seen by nearly 5 million people globally. Following the unprecedented success of the film, 14-18 NOW and IWM agreed that a share of the film’s royalties would be used to support a new programme of artist commissions, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund. A total of £2.5 million is being made available to artists and cultural organisations across the UK.
Through the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, IWM is now working in partnership with 20 cultural organisations from across the UK to commission 22 ambitious new artworks inspired by the heritage of conflict and created by world-leading and emerging contemporary artists. These new commissions will forge new opportunities for artistic engagement, bring art to audiences in new and relevant ways by connecting people, places and experiences, and kick-start cultural dialogue as we recover from the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19. The commissions will go on public display across the UK between 2022 and 2024.)
Project Art Works. 23 September 2023 – 25 February 2024
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce a major new collaboration and exhibition with Project Art Works as part of their EXPLORERS programme. Now in its second iteration, EXPLORERS is a partnership programme of art and action that opens up routes into artistic practice for neuro-minorities, dismantling attitudinal and systemic barriers to representation and rights in art and society.
The programme increases the visibility and presence of neurodivergent artists in contemporary art, creating pathways for cultural organisations to deepen their understanding, and commit to, inviting artists and their carers into their spaces.
The year-long project will culminate in an installation of artworks and film in Baltic’s Ground Floor gallery in autumn 2023. Bringing together research and learning from the collaboration, the exhibition will include a programme of workshops and events developed with neurodiverse communities, local partners and individuals.
About Project Art Works:
Project Art Works is a collective of neurodiverse artists, activists and carers based in Hastings. Their programmes range from studio-based practice to awareness raising in the cultural and care sectors. They disseminate their work through projects, exhibitions, collaborations and films. The collective includes caregivers who share knowledge about health and social care systems to promote better life outcomes for themselves and those they care for. Project Art Works were joint winners of the Film London Jarman Award 2020, shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2021, and were one of fifteen international collectives that presented Documenta 15 in 2022.
(The Explorers Project is supported by Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Partners: Autograph, Action Space, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Into Art, MK Gallery, Outside In, Photoworks, Project Art Works and Venture Arts.)
Ayo Akingbade, Show Me The World Mister. 18 November 2023 – 14 April 2024
Show Me The World Mister is an exhibition by artist Ayo Akingbade. Comprising two films shot on location in Nigeria, the commission builds on Akingbade’s lucid interrogations of history and place, addressing the interwoven histories of industrialisation, colonisation and family.
Akingbade works predominantly with moving image, addressing notions of power, urbanism and stance. Interested in the fluid boundaries between the self and the other, she gathers local and cultural experiences in intimate and playful interpretations.
Ayo Akingbade is an artist, writer, and director based in London. Selected screenings and exhibitions include: A Glittering City: Ayo Akingbade with Duchamp & Sons, Whitechapel Gallery, London; An Infinity of Traces, Lisson Gallery, London (both 2021); Towner International Biennial, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne (2020); No News Today, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2019); and Urban Rhapsodies, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York (2017). Her work has been shown at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, and the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, among others.
(Produced by Chisenhale Gallery and Spike Island, Bristol, and commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery; Spike Island; the Whitworth, The University of Manchester; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.)
Cosmovisions on Land and Entangled Futures (working title). 18 November 2023 – 26 May 2024
Cosmovisions on Land and Entangled Futures is a group exhibition that is being developed through a collaborative research project that seeks to investigate land rights and the social and political agency of nature from non-extractivist perspectives. The project has an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on practices that reveal worldviews at the intersections between land rights and climate justice, questioning and opposing Euro-capital-centric and dominant narratives. Based on experimentation and collaboration, the project explores formats that challenge the hierarchical structures of production and presentation of knowledge, incorporating the voices of artists, and collaboration and exchange in the development process.
The project proposes to create space and time to build collaboration and in-depth co-creation of ideas relating to the interdependence and de-hierarchisation between human and nature. It offers a platform to connect local, territorial and social struggles with pressing global concerns to imagine other possible realities that respond to more sustainable futures.
The R&D project includes an artist residency at La Escocesa, a research grant, two artists’ commissions, online events and five Research Labs to be developed by each partner organisation.
Brazilian artist Aline Baiana was invited to spend a month-residency at La Escocesa, Barcelona (October 2022). Colombian writer and cultural producer Beatriz E. Balanta was selected to develop her project Palo: Paila-Liquid Memories that will explore how Black people re-imagine concepts such as humanity, nature, life, and death in the face war and environmental disaster in the neighbourhood of Las Dos Aguas, in the town of Puerto Tejada near Cali, Colombia.
(Cosmovisions on Land and Entangled Futures is a partnership between Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (UK), Capc Bordeaux (FR), La Escocesa (ES), Más Arte Más Acción (COL) and Pivô (BR). It is funded by the British Council’s International Collaboration Grants, which are designed to support UK and overseas organisations to collaborate on international projects.)