Weighting Time: A survey exhibition across two venues

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Weighting Time is a survey exhibition across two venues - Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art - exploring 30 years of work by British artist Fiona Crisp.

From the subterranean world of dark-matter laboratories to the midnight sun of the Nordic summer, Crisp’s work explores how we might connect to spaces and ideas beyond our own lived experience. Her practice interrogates the ontology of the photographic image – a branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being - to reveal new understandings of our changing relationships to space, place and time.

Across the two venues, Weighting Time reconfigures and recontextualizes elements of Crisp’s large-scale installations from the last three decades, using bespoke seating to encourage viewers into a physical encounter with her powerfully sculptural photographic and film objects. Included are works made in the Early Christian catacombs of Rome, a Second World War underground military hospital in the Channel Islands and a Dark Matter Laboratory sited deep underneath the bed of the North Sea. Projects undertaken at these and other sites of historic or scientific significance are brought together with a new large-scale public commission made by Crisp for Sunderland’s Mowbray Park.

Weighting Time at Sunderland Museum explores Crisp’s long-term engagement with the construction and framing of a ‘view’ in visual as well as in political and philosophical terms. Across her large-scale photographic works, we see Crisp’s preoccupation with thresholds – liminal spaces or states where there is tension between public and private, interior and exterior or light and dark. In her Still Films series from the 1990s, life-sized figures are suspended in action, caught on the thresholds of buildings; within other projects Crisp uses cars, caravans or architectural models as framing devices to mediate our world view - or view of the world - all the time drawing our attention to the camera’s own ‘act of looking’.

By contrast, Weighting Time at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art brings together several bodies of work created by Crisp within enclosed, hermetic or subterranean spaces. This collection of still and moving image work made in mines, theatres, laboratories and catacombs, come together to form a trope of ‘otherworlds’ or ‘underworlds’ that re-order our coordinates of space, place and time. Both worlds come together in the film installation Boulby where we experience the intense visual and aural phenomenon of a truck travelling through tunnels underneath the bed of the North Sea. Edited together with an animated simulation taken from the Hubble telescope, the film allows us to reverse time-travel as we fly back through the formation of galaxies towards the moment of the Big Bang.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSunderland
PublisherSunderland City Council
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023
EventFiona Crisp. Weighting Time: a survey exhibition across two venues - Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens & Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Apr 20233 Sept 2023

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