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Newcastle photographic exhibition Futureland Now at the Laing Art Gallery

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  September 9, 2012 | 0 Comments
Beneath, by John Kippin

Beneath, by John Kippin

Futureland Now, a new photographic exhibition, will will explore issues of change and uncertainty in contemporary Britain.

It features works by John Kippin and Chris Wainwright and shoes large scale photographic landscapes that examine uncertainy and change. It opens on Sept. 15 at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne and runs until Jan. 20, 2013.

The exhibition is revisioning of Futureland, a seminal exhibition of Kippin and Wainwright’s work held at the Laing Art Gallery in 1989. It wrestled with the political and social issues such as unemployment, state control, regional stereotypes, consumerism and the distortion of our heritage.

Futureland Now reflects upon and builds on the original exhibition and introduces a number of works related to its original themes as well as introducing new ideas and works that explore a number of contemporary concerns. The 1980s was a time of great social and economic upheaval which created a legacy we are still struggling to engage with. Many of the traditional industries particularly in the North of England, disappeared in a relatively short space of time with a significant move towards new economic initiatives in the information and service industries.

Julie Milne, Chief Curator for Art Galleries says: “The Laing Art Gallery is particularly committed to this project as Kippin and Wainwright’s work not only has a strong resonance with the Laing’s historical art collection but also importantly explores the key themes of our times which are relevant both locally and globally.

“The exhibition will introduce a new range of challenging and innovative photography building on earlier images of the North East and further afield.”

The current economic situation closely parallels that of the 1980s with a major reassessment of the roles of the public and private sectors being undertaken. Futureland Now is both a catalyst for reflection on the past and a farsighted indication of an ambiguous and indefinite future.

Kippin and Wainwright were among the pioneers of new British colour documentary photography, and in the 1980s both lived and worked in Newcastle upon Tyne. At that time, the large scale of production of colour prints for an Art Gallery exhibition was unusual and indeed, controversial, as it broke with the association of monochrome social documentary photography as the appropriate vehicle to convey seriousness of subject and purpose.

The Laing Art Gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm. Admission is free. For more details visit or find the Laing on Facebook , Twitter, @LaingArtGallery and Flickr.

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