When we went to Newcastle for our study trip, we also went to see the exhibitions at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. We were lucky enough to get a guided tour with an employee. The guide, unfortunately, wasn’t able to tell us much about the work other than what was in the brochures, but she told us a bit about the history of the unique building and it was nice to have someone show us around before getting the chance to go around on our own.
The main exhibition taking up most of the gallery space was the ‘That’s Not Me’ exhibition by Rodney Graham. One floor was a collection of Graham’s video work which had several different elements to it besides from just the moving image.
The videos were just as much about the installation as it was about the movies. The projectors were set up so the film would create interesting shapes as it was running through, there were sets build to exact measurements of where the film was shot and the massive projectors were painted and just almost more interesting than the movies themselves. The attention to the details is very admirable, and I was very awed by it.
Another floor contained Graham’s photographs. Huge scale photographs mounted on light-boxes and again with amazing attention to the details. Nothing in the photographs was left to chance, everything was placed exactly right on Graham’s build sets.
It is possible to just keep looking at one of Graham’s photographs for hours, because there are so many details to them, and it takes a while to notice all of them, on some of them it is even possible to read some of the news on the newspapers. Using himself as a model and having certain references to who he is as a person in the photographs just makes them even more personal even though they are showing a fictional world.
All of his photographs have a background story and with their massive scale, they are very fascinating installations.
The other exhibition on at the Baltic was about the refugee crisis in Europe. It was called ‘Disappearance at sea – Mare Nostrum’. It was a group exhibition in cooperation with Amnesty International to raise awareness about what the refugees are going through when they leave their homes behind in search of a better and safer life.
The collection of the different artworks from the different artists were amazing, and it a way symbolises how every refugee’s journey is different.
There were videos, interviews, illustrations, photographs and interactive installations. All the different artists’ work was put together in a way that it was almost a journey to go through for the viewer to see all of the different installations.
It was a great day at the Baltic, the tour could have been better, but the exhibitions were amazing and definitely worth a trip to Newcastle to see.