The Side Gallery Newcastle


On Friday our lecturers had arranged a self-funded study trip to Newcastle to visit the Side Gallery and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. We also managed to have a look around the Laing Art Gallery, which means we manage to see a total of 6 exhibitions in one day.

At the Side Gallery, they had three exhibitions on, one on each floor.

The exhibition on the ground floor was called You, Me and Autism. It was portraits taken of autistic people by an autistic photographer, Colin Potsig. Potsig had taken that human interaction, which is usually difficult for people with autism and captured it in form of portraits. The portraits were printed in both black and white and colour and were framed in simple black frames and hung up close to each other in a row around the room.

The exhibition on the first floor was called Under Gods. It was created by photographer Liz Hingley and was about the different religions found around a specific street in Birmingham. The photographs show the huge amount of different religions from all over the world existing in this small space in England, and how the children are still capable of playing and getting along despite the differences. It is a very interesting series and with little stories next to the individual photographs, it becomes a story on its own. The photographs are individually framed and were hung around the room with space between them to separate the stories. Overall a very interesting exhibition, although I would have liked to see some more multi-faith meetings between people besides the children.

The last exhibition on the second floor was called The Prospect of Immortality. I found the series by Murray Ballard both creepy and fascinating at the same time. The series is about people being frozen after they die, in hope that maybe one day the human race will find the cure for death and bring them back to life.

The photographs show us the equipment, prospective patients and even current patients. The big prints make the project more dramatic, especially the advanced equipment looks more daunting in the large-scale. The full-bleed photographs hovering slightly off the wall adds to the sort of mystery about the whole thing but at the same time makes it look more clean and sterile along with the medical theme. I would have loved for the patients’ stories to have been on the wall next to their photograph, it would make it more this slightly surreal subject more real. I suppose it is almost like donating your body to science, but with a prospect of getting your life back at the end of it. It all reminds me of an episode of Dr Who.

The Prospect of Immortality is the one projects I remember the best as it is a subject that is very difficult to comprehend and it makes you consider the subject of what happens after we die. I would also love to read the book that started the whole idea, the fiction behind the science.

Unfortunately, I am not able to go to Format Festival this year even though I would have loved to, it was such an incredible experience two years ago, but being able to visit these exhibitions in Newcastle was a decent alternative, even though Format is quite a lot bigger.

The Side Gallery was an amazing little gallery tucked away in a little alley, and it is a place I will definitely visit again the next time I find myself in Newcastle.


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