Ryan Gander has been commissioned to create a new work for the 'Great Exhibition of the North', opening across various venues in Newcastle and Gateshead on 22 June.
The commission, which will be housed at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, consists of ten black concrete sculptures, originally designed to emit or to shine light, each with a historical link to the North of England. These include one of the first functioning incandescent light bulbs, developed by Joseph Swan (b. 1828, Sunderland) in the late 1800s, and the Geordie lamp, a safety lamp for use in inflammable atmospheres, invented by George Stephenson (b. 1781, Wylam) in 1815.
The objects are linked together by a maritime mooring chain, referencing the dark depths of the River Tyne. Gander references both the history and future of northern innovation, celebrating the inventions of Swan and Stephenson by creating sculpture rendered using contemporary materials developed in the region.
The 'Great Exhibtion of the North' is a three-month celebration of northern England's pioneering spirit and the impact of the region's inventors, artists and designers. It’s a chance to show how England's innovative spirit has shaped the world and is building the economy of tomorrow.