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AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION

Date uploaded: November 20, 2013

Lara Almarcegui | Wang Bing | Pat Collins | Rhodri Davies | Anja Kirschner & David Panos | Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc | Bruce McClure | Anna Molska | Lee Patterson | Richard Skelton | Simon Starling | Susan Stenger | Akio Suzuki | Jessica Warboys | Chris Watson

AV Festival is pleased to announce the programme for 2014, featuring new commissions, UK premieres, solo exhibitions, group shows, concerts and film screenings by international and nationally renowned artists. 

AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION presents the work of artists who are re-imagining the geologic by responding to the natural landscape of the North East and beyond, from Neolithic rock art and glacial erosion to the remnants of the coal mining and minerals industries, and modern concerns with the global exploitation of material resources. Through contemporary art, sound, music and film, the biennial event explores the raw materials that create our experience of the world, from their origins deep inside the earth, to their extraction and transformation through artistic, industrial and manufacturing processes.

Running throughout March 2014, the Festival features over 10 curated exhibitions and over 50 concerts and film screenings, at venues including mima, Middlesbrough; Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland; Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Laing Art Gallery, Tyneside Cinema, Star and Shadow Cinema, Castle Keep, the Mining Institute and other places in Newcastle as well as found spaces across the region.

In Newcastle, the Festival is proud to present the first survey exhibition of Akio Suzuki’s work ever shown in the UK, spanning a thirty-year period, and including a new work responding to the coastal landscape of North East England, and in particular the limestone stack of Marsden Rock.

The last coal extraction and surface mining in Newcastle city centre is the focus for Lara Almarcegui’s new commission for AV Festival, which includes guided tours of the coal seams at the Newcastle Science Central site, at the beginning of December 2013.

Exploring time and landscape by uniting physical materials with natural elements, Jessica Warboys solo exhibition presents sculptural objects, a video installation and a large-scale sea painting created from mineral pigments thrown onto the canvas and then submerged in the sea and dragged along the sand.

Susan Stenger returns to AV Festival with a new sound installation inspired by the topographical nuances of a 12-metre long hand-painted scroll of the geological strata of the landscape from the River Tyne to the River Tweed, drawn by local mining engineer Nicholas Wood in the 1830s.

For the first time, AV Festival has two curated thematic group shows; at mima in Middlesbrough, and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) in Sunderland. At mima the exhibition focuses on metal as the material of global power and financial control, in response to the town’s role in the early development of a global iron and steel industry. It includes major works by Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Simon Starling, Anja Kirschner and David Panos and Hito Steyerl. NGCA’s exhibition focuses on stone as a natural material, and includes historic and contemporary work by Dennis Oppenheim, Harun Farocki, Vanessa Billy and Thiago Rocha Pitta, in addition to hand carved geological models by mining engineer Thomas Sopwith from the 1850s.

At Newcastle’s Mining Institute, Anna Molska’s film re-imagines Nobel Prize winner, playwright and novelist Gerhart Johann Hauptmann’s play about the revolt of weavers in 1844 in the contemporary context of the Polish coal mining region of Silesia.

Wang Bing, the key figure of a new documentary movement that has been gathering momentum in China over the last decade, presents as a gallery installation, the UK premiere of his acclaimed 14-hour film Crude Oil, following the long working day of Chinese crude oil extractors. Cinema presentations of his other films West of the Tracks, Man with No Name, Coal Money and The Ditch are screened across the Festival month.

Over two weekends AV Festival 14 presents a series of new sound commissions from artists and musicians Lee Patterson, Rhodri Davies with John Butcher, Common Objects, Richard Skelton and Chris Watson. They will respond to the region’s geology through field recordings of areas including the lead mining landscape of the North Pennines, the immense layer of igneous rock dolerite across Northumberland known as Whin Sill, and Neolithic rock art. The films of Pat Collins also feature, including Silence, a portrait of a sound recordist in pursuit of landscapes free from man-made sound.

The opening weekend of AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION (28th February – 2nd March) includes live performances and film screenings of seminal work by Michael Snow, and new work by The Otolith Group and Jessica Warboys, plus the UK premiere of a solo performance by Akio Suzuki at the historic Castle Keep in Newcastle; and a three-hour duo performance with Aki Onda. This weekend also premieres a new 16mm performance by artist Bruce McClure at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. 

As with previous editions, AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION curates a special programme of weekly film screenings, this time with a focus on documentary practice. Films exploring global depictions of extraction include existing work by Allan Sekula and Nicholas Rey; the UK premiere of Andreas Horvath’s Earth’s Golden Playground about the new Klondike gold rush; Rachel Boynton’s Big Men which exposes the African oil industries; and Victor Lopes’ Serra Pelada, the Legend of the Gold Mountain, documenting myths around one of the largest mines of the twentieth century.

AV Festival is a biennial festival of contemporary art, film and music, based in North East England that had its first edition in 2003. Since then it has developed to become a significant international event, and in 2012 became a month long event with the critically acclaimed AV Festival 12: AS SLOW AS POSSIBLE.