Weighting Time: A Creative Assembly

Please join us for:

Weighting Time – A Creative Assembly Event exploring Photography as an Object of Encounter.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art [NGCA]

Thursday 18th May 2023. 9.30am – 6pm (starting at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens)

Weighting Time is a one-day Creative Assembly Event in response to artist Fiona Crisp’s survey exhibition, Weighting Time, currently showing across Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens (1 April – 3 June) and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (6 May – 3 September). The Assembly will take place within and around the exhibitions across both venues, creating a space and context to consider photography as an object of encounter. The day will include contributions from artists Fiona Crisp and Alexandra Hughes, contemporary art historians Olga Smith and Chris Townsend and lawyer and critical theorist Nicolette Barsdorf-Liebchen.

The Weighting Time exhibitions re-configure and re-contextualise elements from Crisp’s large-scale installations made over the last 30 years, looking at the photographic or film object as a site of material encounter. Alongside the shows, a new public work, Belvedere (Mowbray Park), has been installed on the exterior of Sunderland Museum. Despite spending the last three decades working with photography and moving image, it is sculpture that Crisp continues to identify as her ‘mother tongue’. The Assembly aims to position this paradox in a wider critical and cultural enquiry, examining the under-researched area of photographic encounter as a phenomenological act.

Historically, there has been periodic interest in exhibitions and publishing pertaining to the relationship of photography and sculpture: Hauser & Wirth’s 2014 exhibition, The Photographic Object, 1970, was a reprise of the 1970 MoMA show, Photography Into Sculpture curated by Peter Bunnell and two years later, in 2016, Mary Statzer published The Photographic Object 1970,a catalogue after-the-fact and contemporary re-contextualisation of the same MoMA exhibition. Earlier than this in 2009, The Photographers Gallery had staged an exhibition, also called The Photographic Object, showing the work of Maurizio Anzeri, Walead Beshty, Annette Kelm, Gerhard Richter, Alina Szapocznikow, Wolfgang Tilmans, Warhol and Catherine Yass.

By contrast, Crisp’s work sits outside of the hybridized field of photography and sculpture examined in the above surveys, where the photograph is materially altered through collage or mixed media (painting in Richter’s case) or is in some way rendered three-dimensional. Instead, her practice is more closely aligned with works where conceptual, philosophical, or political meaning flows from a spatial or phenomenological encounter with the image itself.  Examples of work in this field would include the early sculptural images of Hannah Collins or Craigie Horsfield or Willie Doherty’s Black Spot video installation as well as the quasi-architectural work of Jean-Marc Bustamante. Inherent in the work of all these artists is an unpicking of the ontology of photography, often expressed through a privileging of the experiential, asking what it is to encounter a photographic work – a question that has of course gained resonance in recent years when so much of our experience has taken place remotely or vicariously via digital platforms.

The Weighting Time exhibitions and the Creative Assembly Event will together form the springboard for a book to be published in 2024 by Matt’s Gallery, London.

To read full biographies for the speakers please click here.

Attendance at the Creative Assembly is free but booking is essential.

The Creative Assembly will start at 9.30am on Thursday 18th May 2023 at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens (Burdon Road, Sunderland SR1 1PP) and will move to Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art at the National Glass (Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL) finishing at 6pm.

Lunch can be purchased at the National Glass Centre and travel between venues is a 20-minute walk or via #700 bus or car. A full schedule for the day will be shared in advance.

Image: Fiona Crisp, Weighting Time installation view, 2023, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. Courtesy of the artist and Sunderland Culture. Photo: Colin Davison.

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