What would a commission be without a final show? It was important to me that Adventureland should be shown in a place that would be accessible to a wide variety of people. I absolutely think that the work would be wonderful in a contemporary art gallery as well. But for the first showing I really wanted this work to be in a place where the public would have instant access to the work, and that the work could be seen in a place that you wouldn’t ordinarily find art.
I was advised by a contact at Newcastle City Council that there was a space being managed by artists in Eldon Garden, and that this space might be suitable for a pop up exhibit. I contacted Silvie Fisch from the Northern Cultural Projects organisation. This organisation has access to an empty space within Eldon Garden in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. The space is essentially an empty shop unit and is in part of the shopping centre that gets a lot of footfall. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to show my work there as it is a perfect space to engage with members of the public that are out for the day shopping and wouldn’t ordinarily step foot into a gallery space.
“It was both an honour and a pleasure to host the Adventureland exhibit! We are always happy to show artists’ work at ‘Time Warp’ in Eldon Gardens.” Silvie Fisch, Executive Director & Project Management for Northern Cultural Projects
If you need a venue please get in touch with Northern Cultural Projects direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
So what did people see upon entering the space, or even walking past the space and being stopped in their tracks!!? Initially they would have seen a familiar scene, a table set for a tea party, but upon closer inspection they would have seen something that didn’t quite fit together.
There were tea cups and a teapot, there were cakes, but there were also a number of weird and wonderful apparatus that you would ordinarily find in a science laboratory. Of course this captured the curiosity of the audience and they can’t help but ask ‘why’? Why has this been created? Can I buy that tea cup, that placemat, that beautiful golden tea pot? What is that bright colourful image printed on a vast piece of silk?
This is the point at which I could explain what I had been up to for the last year. And for all of the scientific questions that people had I was lucky enough to have two representatives from Newcastle Universities Wellcome Trust Mitochondrial Research Team at the exhibit.
As you will see from the comments below people that attended the pop up exhibit really enjoyed the experience. The multi-layered science lab tea party installation really captured their attention and interest. I even had a visitor come all the way from London for the day, just to see the exhibit which was a wonderful surprise.
Many of the images that you will see here are of the work, but some of the most special images are of three of the patient participants that were involved in the engagement sessions. I was really thrilled that they came to see their work, and it was lovely to spend so much time talking to them about their experiences and thoughts on the project.
It was also fantastic to have patient participant’s beautiful work displayed alongside the work that I produced. Many passersby were inspired to come into the gallery space once they had seen the participant’s work.
An exhibit like this is not easy to create and my own ambitions for it at times were a real challenge. I didn’t want to produce something that could be printed and framed, this didn’t lend itself to the level of engagement and curiosity that I wanted to inspire.
Working with multiple manufacturers and creating multiple hand made elements that sat alongside the bespoke teaset was quite a task. In addition, co-ordinating the loan of multiple pieces of equipment was a challenge but all of these elements created a wonderfully diverse and intricate installation.
For me the commission was a resounding success, the best part about it is that it really did demonstrate the strength in two essentially opposing disciplines art and science and how they can compliment and enhance eachother. Bringing art and science together is no easy task especially within the field of medical research. I have to say that the commission as a whole was very rewarding and this meant that I went above and beyond the original brief in order to create something that could have a long lasting legacy. Newcastle University are now the custodians of the work, and I am sure that they will use it to continue to raise awareness and engage new audiences with the world class reasearch that they are doing.
I would like to say a special thank you to Silvie Fisch at the Northern Cultural Projects organisation for providing us with the wonderful Time Warp gallery space. The pop up exhibit would not have been possible without your generous support. I would also like to say a huge thank you to Julie Murphy and Christie Waddington for their invalubale support and advice throughout the commission and for volunteering their time for the pop up exhibit. I would also like to thank Zofia Chrzanowska-Lightowlers for her support and encoragement throughout the commission. I would also like to recognise that this project would not have been possible without NICAP funding and therefore I am very grateful that this fund is available to support commissions such as this. And finally the biggest heartfelt thanks goes to Irene Brown, who is an endless source of support, inspiration, mentoring and encoragement. Irene you are a generous soul that I feel honored to call you a friend and I could not have completed this commission without you. Thank you!!