Feel After the New See, 2018
MDF, timber, paint, speaker cloth, HD video, black tea & pomegranate reed diffuser.
Commissioned by Hatton Gallery, Newcastle. Curated by Madeleine Kennedy.
This commission by Kate Liston responds to the speculative world-making evident in the drawings, collages and films of Ella Bergmann-Michel, a German-born artist whose work was exhibited at the Hatton Gallery in 1972, and whose Collagestudie:horizontal (1926) from the Hatton collection is displayed within this new installation.
Embraced by early twentieth-century art movements such as Bauhaus, Dada, Constructivism and Surrealism, Bergmann-Michel had a singular vision. She likened her working process to a continued act of nachspüren, often translated as ‘tracing’ but more accurately meaning ‘to feel after’. In this commission, Liston explores the sense of encounter that this term evokes, responding to Bergmann-Michel’s constant negotiation between the self and the external world.
Here the Hatton’s most historic gallery space becomes the immersive, speculative thinking space for a new film work, the ‘story’ of which will remain open during the exhibition, as in a game. At the heart of the installation is a screen featuring test footage revealing Liston’s thinking towards the film. Events programmed throughout the exhibition will play out alternative possibilities for what the film may become.
The contents of the new film will draw on two facets of Bergmann-Michels’ practice: the biomorphic and grotesque subjects of her early drawings, and her interest in the ways in which designed space determines ways of living, as revealed in her films documenting the modernisation of Frankfurt. These dual influences find parallels in the context of the Hatton, both in the organic forms of its iconic ceiling, and the unique urban sites of Newcastle which will be incorporated into the film.
Feel After the New See is the first in a series of annual site-specific projects responding to the unique architecture and remarkable history of the Hatton Gallery, as well as its pivotal role in international innovations in exhibition design and installation art.
The artist would like to acknowledge bugsnstuff, Cola the guinea pig, Murka the hamster, NE1 and Newcastle City Council for their support of the new film.
Fabrication by TILT, Newcastle.
Photos by Kate Liston.