Wilderness Way pt.1

I went to see the Wilderness Way exhibition at MIMA today.

This exhibition treats Margaret Thatcher’s visit to Teesside in 1987 as a starting point to reflect on the 1980’s, a decade that shaped the way we live now. Art, film, music and archival materials examine themes of class struggle, agency, racial division, and protest.

Mima Users Guide.

I left my teens behind in 1981, along with many of my family and friends I experienced the raw edge of the decade through redundancy, unemployment and hardship. I was keen to see how MIMA’s curators would explore these troubled times.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The themes in this exhibition leave a huge area to cover, any one of them could have been the subject of a large exhibition, so I was expecting something a little larger with more material. Despite this, the exhibition is worth visiting, it contains some thought-provoking pieces.

I found the piece on the Cumbrian Iron Ore Miners to be extremely powerful and disturbing. Using official documents, claim forms, Doctor’s letters and a death certificate, it documents industrial disease and the struggle for compensation from a system that has little regard for the hardships being endured by disabled ex-miners and their families. Even when a miner prematurely dies of lung disease, his widow is denied compensation. The narrative seemed to belong in the black days of the 1930’s rather than the 1980’s.

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Mike Figgis’s film of the The Battle of Orgreave is equally powerful. Footage of  the re-enactment of the battle is cut with interviews and commentary which caused me to reflect on the continued struggle of people who are still being treated with little or no regard by an ideologically-driven conservative government.

Matterlurgy Geofictions – MIMA

The group Matterlurgy led workshops in which their members and participants collected artefacts – from stones to discarded plastic items – in South Gare, the site of the now-closed Teesside steelworks in Redcar. This exhibition features those objects, which are part of a future fossil record, and suggest a geological stratum in which nature and technology are combined

http://www.visitmima.com/whats-on/single/matterlurgy-geofictions/

The Livingroom of Loss

This weekend was Middlesbrough Art Weekender, I got to see a lot of art and meet up with a few old friends.  The work that had the greatest impact on me was Eamonn McGovern’s The Livingroom of Loss. McGovern has pasted a number of his paintings onto the walls of derelict and demolished former homes in the Gresham area of Middlesbrough.

My friend Peter Rowe described the work as street art left in the ruins of Mayor Mallon’s Middlesbrough. In 2005 Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon described the Gresham area as a cancer that needed to be cut out of the town.

My personal opinion is that McGovern’s work is a poignant, albeit temporary, memorial to the shameful and wanton destruction of a vibrant town centre community.

While Middlesbrough continues to expand outward and the pressure to build new homes is put on the green spaces that surround the town, a huge swath of town centre land has remained shamefully derelict for more than a decade.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/demolition_of_homes_in_gresham

MIMA Exhibition -Teesside World Exposition of Art and Technology

Teesside World Exposition of Art and Technology is an urgent reaction to the recent closure of Redcar’s steelworks and a bid to make a positive contribution to the future of industry in the North East region.

Capturing the industrial character of Teesside, the exhibition shows how it has formed, from the extraction of raw materials to production, as well as the import/export of goods.

The gallery features the activity of various regional companies alongside a makerspace, archival material drawn from Teesside Archives, the Central Library and the Dorman Museum, and works from artists such as Aikaterini Gegisian, Adrián Melis, David Mulholland, David Watson, Eva Fàbregas, Farid Rasulov, Goldin+Senneby, Hackney Flashers, Mikhail Karikis, MVRD, Norman Appleton, Philip Boville and Len Tabner.

Teesside has always been defined by its industry and has history of making. The eminent past and economic future of the area is explored through historical documents and artefacts, contrasted with a showcase of new industrial technology and works by artists who have portrayed Teesside’s steelworks.

The Exhibition runs until the 9th of October

Link to MIMA

Mural