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3–Phase: We Can’t Float Here

29 April to 9 June 2018

The second iteration of 3-Phase is now talking place in Workplace Gallery, Gateshead. We Can’t Float Here is a group exhibition of new and existing work by Larry AchiampongMark Essen and Nicola Singh. Over an 18 month period three exhibition moments will showcase work by the artists as it evolves. As part of this unique development initiative 3-PhaseWe Can’t Float Here was preceded by a group exhibition at Jerwood Space (November – December 2017) and will culminate in a solo show for each artist at Eastside Projects in the Autumn of 2018. The initiative offers a supported opportunity and critical platform for the artists to engage with three national organisations over an extended period during which time they will experiment and realise ambitious, compelling ideas.

The selected artists, each at pivotal moments in their careers, have demonstrated a commitment to challenging and pushing the boundaries of traditional modes of exhibition making. Inherent to their respective bodies of work are a strong research-base and pertinent social narratives, which surface through sculpture, performance and technology.

Larry Achiampong is continuing to present elements from his ongoing, multi-disciplinary project, Relic Traveller. The project builds upon a postcolonial perspective informed by technology, agency and the body, and narratives of migration.

Central to the exhibition at Workplace is PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE (2017), an appliqué flag commissioned by, and recently hung on top of Somerset House in London. The flag includes 54 stars that represent the 54 countries of Africa; the colour green reflecting its land; the colour black its people; and the colour red a reminder of the struggles the continent has endured. The field of yellow gold presents a new day and prosperity. Achiampong has also produced a new poster version of the flag which will be distributed throughout the local community and is available free in the gallery for visitors to take away.

Mark Essen is further exploring the duality of power in a new installation. The work gestures towards Degrowth, a political, economic and social movement based on ecological economics that look to the future. Essen’s installation takes the Ancient Roman God Janus who was depicted with two faces, one to look into the future and the other to look into the past as its starting point.

Essens installation comprises of a series of objects supported on wall mounted Vitsoe 606 shelving unit. These include a reworked continuous profile of Mussolini’s head by Renato Bertelli which Essen has inverted to create a ceramic vase holding a dying Lily that feminises Mussolini. On another shelf is a ceramic head of Thomas Spence, using the continuous profile technique giving Spence 360 vision. Also included is a domestic scale Aeroponics System growing lettuce. The two elements represent a contemporary interpretation and application of Spence’s work, who fought for rights of the common land in 1771.

Nicola Singh has produced a series of new works that continue to expand upon her ideas around exhibition making through the prism of action and performance. The works were created during a private workshop in the gallery prior to the exhibition, as Singh focuses on an intimate negotiation of her own body to find new forms.

For the past 2 months, Singh was artist in residence at Hongti Art Centre in Busan, South Korea. During her residency she explored ways of capturing touch, sensation and movement in relation to the body, in an attempt to preserve and prioritise the felt or feeling experience. She made a series of new works through rubbing, grabbing, spreading and tracing the form of her body with pigment beneath a range of materials. A text piece, written in parallel to the artist’s physical exploration of touch and sensation towards her own body is presented alongside the textiles.

3-Phase is a unique development initiative led by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, through its gallery programme Jerwood Visual Arts; Eastside Projects, Birmingham and WORKPLACE, Gateshead.

3-Phase was first launched in 2015 through the Jerwood Encounters series, working with artists Kelly Best and Georgie Grace. It is an innovative model, which aims to identify artistic potential from across the Midlands, the North, and the rest of the UK, allowing for a UK wide peer group to form. This unique collaboration highlights the benefits of artists and organisations working together as part of a national dialogue; constructing a space of encounter between the thinking of selected artists and supporting arts organisations around the developing bodies of work