At 25 Metres

Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson
FACT Centre, Wood Street (16th November 2007 – 13th January 2008, except Mon)

Reviewed by Jennie Lewis

The first component in the exhibition entitled ‘The Fireworks’ is as explosive in its actual delivery as it is in its intended message. Awaiting viewers in Gallery 1 is an enormous film screen projecting visual images of a contained fireworks display, accompanied by a rather ferocious aural aspect. The flashes and pulses of this carefully choreographed demonstration increase in speed and power as it progresses and I couldn’t help but be enthralled. What is it about flashing lights and loud noises that excites even the most unflappable adult?

Co-ordinators of the exhibition claim that we should be encouraged to ‘reflect on the function of the gallery as a critical space as well as affirmation of its power to engage and delight.’ Whilst admittedly not the most insightful individual, nor a great lover of videography in general, I was not overwhelmed by such profound contemplation. Instead, I considered the distinct difference between the atmosphere of an outdoor fireworks display on Guy Fawkes Night, and that of my current surroundings. No longer were the usual associations of frivolity and celebration prominent, but rather feelings of distinct unease and definite tensions replaced the joviality. The dark, suppressive emission of the initial piece was inescapable.

As you continue through the exhibition, the smaller components in Gallery 2 ‘The Carrier’s Prayer’, ‘The Name of God’ and ‘Two Leprechauns’ are rather more discerning and thought-provoking, touching upon issues of controversy, such as teenage delinquency, culture, religion and conflict. Artists Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson have seemingly embarked upon some pursuit to communicate the problematic nature of today’s society through new and unexplored means. Their collective memorandum is eloquent, astute and at times even humorous, and certainly succeeds in its contention of ‘exploring duality and its cultural effects, and the transformative potential of an event, spectacle or action.’

This explosive exhibition explores and excites, leaving crowds of mesmerised spectators deeply thoughtful of the direction of religion and the contemporary society.

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