Sophie Dishman

Review: Crab Walk Art Exhibition

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The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art is currently exhibiting Crab Walk. This is a follow up of the previous exhibition of ‘Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do” which was presented at the Karst gallery in Plymouth earlier this year. 

Crab Walk is a translation of the German phrase Krebsgang and was coined by the German writer Günter Grass to describe the urgent need to “look backwards to be able to move forwards”. This metaphor is the main focus of the exhibition. The alternative focus has come from a discussion about the current state of Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square painting. The painting’s previously pristine surface is now covered in a filigree of tiny cracks; it is literally and metaphorically breaking up.

The exhibition features different types of media: sculptures, audio, film installations and paintings that explore different concepts, from time and place to diaristic narratives.

Anthony Hope attended the exhibition opening event, he said: “I like that it’s got different layers – you’ve got video, you’ve got some paintings, you’ve got sculptures – so I like the range of elements”.

Two new artists have been introduced into this show, making eight contributors in total. The artists exhibiting in the show are: Nicolas Deshayes, Alex Dordoy, Jennifer Douglas, Patrick Hough, Rosalind Mclachlan, Philomene Pirecki, Marie Toseland and Sally Troughton.

They are joined by the curator Ned McConnell and NGCA curator George Vasey.

The exhibition itself is featured in the main gallery space at the NGCA and is striking. There are messages on the wall to reflect the history of the gallery as it has been on Fawcett Street for 20 years. History is a message that is carried out throughout all of the pieces.

One of the pieces that stood out was the necklace sculpture that was made out of a Russian meteorite, although all of the pieces in the show bring an element of surprise. Many may not look like art to the naked eye but looking closer things do become clearer and start to appear.

Holly Coxon went to view the exhibition. She said: “There’s so many parts of the exhibition that raise enigmas for me and there’s other parts of the exhibition I understand as well – it’s nice to have that balance”.

There are many pieces within the exhibition that fit together well although at first it may be difficult to make connections. Looking at the exhibition a few times helped with this.

Overall, although the concept may be hard to grasp, the pieces are interesting even without the semantic meaning behind them.

The exhibition is open till February 20 next year at the NGCA, on the third floor of the City Library in Sunderland.


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