Friday, May 07, 2010

Jo Coupe: "Crystalline Energy" Rio Tinto Alcan Aluminum Plc, Lynemouth, Northumberland, UK

Jo Coupe
Crystalline Energy

Location: Rio Tinto Alcan Aluminum Plc, Lynemouth, Northumberland

Dates of exhibition: 1-7th May 2010

Artist's talk: 7.30pm Tuesday 4th May at Longhirst Hall, Morpeth.

Jo Coupe's residency at Rio Tinto Alcan, one of the world's leading suppliers of bauxite, alumina and aluminium began in 2007, initiated by public art and design initiative, Inspire Northumberland. This residency offered the artist unprecedented access to the fascinating work of Rio Tinto Alcan at their smelter in Lynemouth, Northumberland. In response to this extraordinary environment, Jo Coupe has researched and developed a new body of work, centred around the powerful electromagnetic fields that are a unique by-product of aluminium manufacturing.

The conclusion of Coupe's residency will be a showcase of this new work on site at the Lynemouth Smelter. This exhibition will include a temporary site-specific installation in the basement of the smelter and an exhibition in a converted shipping container.

The exhibition in the shipping container, near the entrance to the Lynemouth site will be open 10am - 5pm, Saturday 1st, Tuesday 4th, Weds 5th, Thursday 6th and Friday 7th May.

Access to the temporary installation in basement of the potrooms is restricted and is strictly by appointment. Artist-led tours are available on Saturday 1st May (1pm and 3pm), Tuesday 4th (4pm and 5.45pm), Weds 5th (11am), Thursday 6th (1pm and 3pm). Places on these tours are very limited and are available on a first-come-first-served basis. To book a place, RSVP with your preferred tour(s) to by Wednesday 28th April.  You must read the attached safety information before making a booking.

The work I have produced during this residency explores the tension between scientific realism and magic, addressing our desire for wonder in the face of the rational. My research has focused on exploring the electromagnetic fields in the potrooms, where the actual smelting takes place. What intrigues me about this environment is its ability to produce phenomena (levitating objects, keys sticking rigidly from walls and photographs with strange auras) which might, in a different context, be seen as evidence of supernatural activity

This residency was commissioned by Inspire Northumberland and funded by Rio Tinto Alcan, Arts & Business, Inspire Northumberland.