AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION, North East England, March 2014

AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION takes place 1-31 March 2014 at venues across the North East of England, including mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Tyneside Cinema, NGCA (Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art), Star and Shadow Cinema, Laing Art Gallery and other spaces to be announced. A biennial event, the Festival is thematically curated to engage audiences with current ideas across contemporary art, film, music and wider society. This year’s event features new commissions, UK premieres, solo exhibitions, group shows, concerts and film screenings by international and nationally renowned artists.

Artists involved in this year’s AV Festival 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. Raw materials that create our experience of the world provide the inspiration for many of them, from their origins deep inside the earth, to their extraction and transformation through artistic, industrial and manufacturing processes.

The festival presents the first survey exhibition in the UK of Akio Suzuki, spanning a thirty-year period, including the artist’s new work responding to the coastal landscape of North East England, in particular the limestone stack of Marsden Rock. Jessica Warboys also responds to the region’s seascape by uniting physical materials with natural elements.

Warboys solo exhibition presents sculptural objects, a video installation and a large-scale sea painting submerged in the sea and then dragged along the sand. 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 during December 2013.

For the first time, AV Festival has two curated group exhibitions of artists’ work that responds to the region’s geology. The collective show at mima 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, David Panos and Hito Steyerl. NGCA’s exhibition centres 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.

The opening weekend of AV Festival 14: EXTRACTION (28 February – 2 March) includes live performances and film screenings of seminal work by Michael Snow, The Otolith Group and many more. Across the festival month there will be new sound commissions from musicians and recording artists, cinema presentations from leading practitioners including Wang Bing and Pat Collins and a number of solo art exhibitions.

For more information visit www.avfestival.co.uk

1. Jessica Warboys, Ab Ovo, 2013. Courtesy the artist.