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The black ball in Newcastle


1 - 29 November 2003

‘Space Between Us’ featured the work of twenty contemporary artists based in the Netherlands and in the north east of England.

Though the startingpoint was the collaboration between the two countries, the exhibition also included artists from Germany, Spain, Ireland and the USA.

‘Space Between Us’ was curated by Una Henry and Thomas Peutz of SMART Project Space in Amsterdam.



Introduction

Suspended between cultural backdrops, ‘Space Between Us’ brings together works by twenty artists from The Netherlands and the north east of England and makes direct reference to their geographical distance. Focusing on the ways in which our cultural constructions are created, these artists propose alternatives, express concerns, reveal ironies and reposition the different parameters that delineate their surroundings. By grouping together diverse propositions within the same framework ‘Space Between Us’ provokes awareness and discussion of the ways in which liminal spaces or zones of mediation are configured.

The central theme of the exhibition is that of connection and dislocation of people and their environment and a dynamic understanding of the boundaries - be they physical, emotional or psychological - between these. The artists? works are not bound to one another, rather they point in differing directions, addressing contemporary subjectivity and demonstrating how society’s structures and codes are embodied in the urban environment and the vulnerability of the individual. These concerns are played out through a complexity of narratives, politics, sounds and images. Adopting a method that is investigative, even anthropological, the works assume the form of a social examination of the public and private realm.




Yvonne Dröge Wendel

Yvonne Dröge Wendel has devised an enormous air-filled latex ball, three and a half metres in diameter and seamlessly covered in black felt, with which she has created events in different European cities.

The ball is transported to a variety of specific locations - within buildings, in the streets, in the countryside - where individuals and local community groups become actively involved in the performance. She creates a mesmerizing and dynamic ball game allowing people to interact spontaneously with it as it rolls along on its journey.

Dröge Wendel’s object is in itself devoid of meaning and function. It is an entity that is of neutral significance, acting as an interface between people and their environment, while at the same time its size makes the rules and regulations of public order very obvious. The ball initiates situations and stories while moving through the city. The action is open to the participation of the people who come into contact with it. The plot develops accordingly, on the spur of the moment, depending upon the empathy and attitude of the co-storytellers.
The potential of the black ball lies in the performative relationship between it and the public. The traces left behind from this performance are drawings, photographs and written stories.

Una Henry and Thomas Peutz, Curators, ‘Space Between Us’
SMART Project Space, Amsterdam
www.smartprojectspace.net

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