CIRCA Projects invited Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan to work with them on the final instalment of their Space Release programme at Newcastle upon Tyne’s Stephenson Works. The exhibition responds to the Stephenson Works and the surrounding area, a site currently undergoing major redevelopment by Newcastle based property developers Silverlink Holdings. DOES THE IT FIT is an interrogative response to this situation that, amongst other things, considers the complex and nuanced relationships between re-generation and art.
The Stephenson Works is an historically significant building currently being used by a range of different organisations. A number of design companies have offices there and the space also provides a venue for cultural and food events. CIRCA Projects programme of exhibitions itself fits within a wider cultural agenda promoted by Silverlink Holdings.
DOES THE IT FIT positions a new work by Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan alongside a curated programme of works and talks. This schedule of exhibitions and events has been devised by Tatham & O’Sullivan, working with CIRCA Projects, as a response to both the context of the site and the commission.
In common with many of Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan’s works, their new commission comprises of a number of choreographed elements and uses a range of forms and approaches. Two constructed structures, sited on the factory floor and the mezzanine echo the recent and original architecture of the site and engage with the buildings current use and status. A second presentation comprises of a series of photo-works of composed subjective encounters with civic space within Newcastle. Finally, a printed text re-positions information relating to places, people and organisations connected both directly and indirectly to DOES THE IT FIT at the Stephenson Works. These seemingly disparate facts build a narrative that becomes increasingly coherent as a more complex picture emerges around the relationships between art and public space.
DOES THE IT FIT will be accompanied by a series of talks and screenings from Nadia Hebson, Fiona Jardine, Lothar Götz and Chris Evans. Each of these will follow through a theme or idea relating to the space and the commissioned work, from mural painting to corporate identity. Alongside this programme will be a cumulative exhibition of work by David Dye, Alexander Harmon, Alan Michael and Alex Dordoy. This series of presented works encourage a viewer to consider modes of art-making quite different to the demands of public engagement and the redevelopment of urban space.
Close by to the Stephenson Works and just visible through the windows of the factory floor is a high rectangular water tower. Given the vicinity of this structure, John Smith’s The Black Tower functions as a wilful curatorial device, drawing attention to the site and the choreography of the project.
DOES THE IT FIT Programme
Thursday 17 October, 6pm. Preview – Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, DOES THE IT FIT
Thursday 24 October, 6pm. Factory Floor: John Smith, The Black Tower
Saturday 26 October, 12pm. Heritage Tour of the Stephenson Works by Michael Taylor, Robert Stephenson Trust.
Thursday 07 November, 6pm. Mezzanine Space: David Dye – Pod Event: Fiona Jardine
Thursday 14 November, 6pm. Mezzanine Space: Alexander Harmon – Pod Event: Nadia Hebson
Thursday 21 November, 6pm. Mezzanine Space: Alan Michael – Pod Event: Lothar Götz
Thursday 28 November, 6pm. Mezzanine Space: Alex Dordoy – Pod Event: Chris Evans
Saturday 07 December, 12pm. Heritage tour of area surrounding Stephenson Works site by Ian Ayris, Head of Urban Design and Conservation Team at Newcastle City Council.
DOES THE IT FIT was supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, Arts Council England, The Elephant Trust, Northumbria University, Silverlink Holdings and the Robert Stephenson Trust.