Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ginny Reed "Space-Time" NGC Sunderland 6/04/09 - 6/09/09

Artists: Heike Brachlow, William S Burroughs, Vaclav Cigler, Keith
Cummings, Bill Drummond, Tehching Hsieh, Dominick Labino,
Liliane Lijn, Steven Pippin, Ginny Reed and Kiki Smith

6 April – 6 September 2009
Private View - Tuesday 7th April

National Glass Centre

'Space-Time’ brings together artists’ work that reflects upon the relevance of astronomical observations and the role of time in our everyday lives, memory and future. The works, drawn from artists living in the North East of England, across the UK and internationally, provide a glimpse of the breadth and scope of the common interests between art and science. The exhibition offers a means through which we can think and explore the many aspects of cosmology and the celestial world.

The exhibition takes its cue from Wearmouth-Jarrow’s own most notable theologian, scholar and scientist, the Venerable Bede, and his eighth century treatise, On the Reckoning of Time. In its text this study starts with the smallest units of time, describing days, weeks and months moving on to lunar movements and the seasons; solar movements and years; the Six Ages of the world, ending with a discussion about eternity (the greatest unit of time). Bede’s computation of these astronomical principles informed his determination of the Anglo-Saxon calendar and the date of Easter – it remains the means by which we still calculate the date of Easter today.

For ancient civilizations the night sky was a source of religious, mythological wonder and scientific discovery and peoples from all corners of the world have created myths and cosmogonies in an attempt to explain their place within the universe.

Astronomers studied stars, planets, galaxies, and other celestial objects with the naked-eye, until techniques honed in the glass making centres of Europe, attracted the attention of scientists and led to the invention of the telescope. It was an Italian, Galileo Galilei who utilised this new technology and revolutionised our understanding of our place in the Universe when he used a telescope to study the night sky, and with his observations dawned a new era in scientific study and time-keeping. In 2009 the world celebrates the ‘International Year of Astronomy’ commemorating the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of a telescope and 40 years since man first landed on the moon.

Kiki Smith’s Constellation (1996), a room-sized installation approx 6m in diameter is a three- dimensional reordered ancient astrological star chart in which cut glass stars and mystic animals (of the zodiac) are scattered across the circular plane of a night-blue paper-carpet – a mysterious blueprint for the infinities of space. Ginny Reed’s photograph, Tiny Shiny (2005) mirrors the seemingly random arrangement of the asteroid-belt catching spot-lit stars of falling glitter through the aperture of a pinhole camera.

Eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours are condensed into Tehching Hsieh’s six minute film One Year Performance (1980-81). His hourly, daily, weekly, monthly regime is compressed in real time, but tempered by the gradual growth of the artist’s hair. In Bill Drummond’s Score 326 (2008), we are encouraged to muse upon the past [year] to affect how we approach the year ahead. William S Burroughs brings into play the Space Time Continuum (c. 1965) of the Fourth Dimension. Splicing and reordering a reel-to-reel sound recording, Burroughs’ work dispenses with the gravital constraints of a linear narrative structure.

Heike Brachlow's Intersphere series (2004) and Vaclav Cigler’s Untitled (2008) explore virtual space through the optical effects of the refraction of light and glass, hinting at the hidden depths beyond which the eye can see. And, like with Keith Cumming’s Moon Pool (2007), one is caught up in romance, fantasy, folklore and legend.

The use of Aerogel in Liliane Lijn’s Heavenly Fragments (2008) stems from her residency at the Space Sciences Laboratory, Berkeley, California; in its intended use Aerogel is used in NASA’s space missions to capture both cometary samples and interstellar dust (star dust). This installation recently featured in Let There Be Light part of the BBC’s Imagine series presented by Alan Yentob. Lijn is also making a new work, Way out is way in, that will premiere in the exhibition and in Sunderland. This poemdrum will incorporate text from William S Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, one of the landmark publications in the history of American literature.

Artist, inventor and glass technologist Dominick Labino’s glass pyramid, Untitled # 402 (1976) refers in its design to the pyramids of Giza. It was by means of the reflections and shadows cast by the pyramids, that ancient Egyptians were able to measure not only the days and hours, but to forecast the Solar Astronomical Year – the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice and so on.

Steven Pippin exhibits UFO (2005) alongside 2B Space & Time Drawing (2007). In this work we are presented with a photograph purporting to be from March 8, 1988. An accompanying text remonstrates through the event, capturing every detail of the fleeting moment in which Pippin witnessed this scarcely explicable phenomenon of a UFO.

‘Space-Time’ at National Glass Centre, 6 April – 6 September 2009, with a complementary events programme April 2009-April 2010. This includes one-off film/video screenings and talks at National Glass Centre and in other locations throughout the North East region with artists, astronomers, scientists and theologians. Please look out for more details on www.nationalglasscentre.com, call 0191 515 5555 or register for email updates by sending your email address to info@nationalglasscentre.com and put ‘Space-Time Updates’ in the subject box.

Kiki Smith courtesy Pace Wildenstein; Dominick Labino courtesy Scott Hudson; William S Burroughs courtesy Riflemaker and William S Burroughs Trust; Vaclav Cigler courtesy Caterina Tognon; Liliane Lijn courtesy Riflemaker.