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Jane and Louise Wilson: The Baltic


Jane and Louise Wilson are exhibiting at the BALTIC from 22nd June 2018. 

They are interested in what happens when the geography of a location takes on a porous identity, or becomes a place outside its own border. Suspended Island impresses upon the viewer the presence of absence. The work reveals on one hand, a lost urban geography that most people won't see and on the other it uncovers - through moving image - the kinetic relationship between the architecture of two distinct sites: Trinity House on Newcastle upon Tyne quayside and the now abandoned coastal fortifications on Governors Island off the coast of Manhattan.

Set back from Newcastle quayside, Trinity House, established 500 years ago, initially regulated the pilotage on the River Tyne and provided for aged mariners. Its first charter permitted the Brethren of Trinity House to levy dues on ships trading into the River Tyne, at the rate of two pence per English ship and four pence per foreign ship. It also, however, required certain duties in exchange from the Brethren, principally that they “build, fortify, moat, embattle and garrison two towers on the north side of the entrance to the River Tyne” in which the lights for the safety of navigation would be maintained. The image of the Brethren and the importance of the lights come together for the artists on a personal and biographical level in the form of a family recording made in 1930 of a Brethren, evangelical song. The lyrics describe the guiding lights towards the golden gate of the shore and to safety.

The song is woven together with film footage, animation and a voice over narrative including a series of interviews with refugees from Bosnia, Kurdistan, Ukraine and Democratic Republic of the Congo that were recorded at a refugee drop in centre in Derby. A structure comprised of two architectural reclaimed diving board platforms, minus their boards in acknowledgement of their dysfunction, accompanies the film. The structures suggest a kind of suspension and at the same time register the sense of misplaced nostalgia for a lost urban geography within an island mentality.

Essential Details


22nd June - 9th September 2018

Venue Details
Housed in a landmark industrial building on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, BALTIC is the biggest gallery of its kind in the world presenting a dynamic, diverse and international programme of contemporary visual art. BALTIC has no perman...


0191 478 1810

[email protected]


Gateshead Quays
South Shore Road

Opening Hours:

Monday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Tuesday 10.30am - 6.00pm
Wednesday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Thursday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Friday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Saturday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Sunday 10.00am - 6.00pm

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