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Walk On - 40 years of art walking from Richard Long to Janet Cardiff

Exhibition date: 1 June - 31 August 2013

'Walk On' is the first exhibition to examine the astonishingly varied ways in which artists since the 1960s have undertaken a seemingly universal act - taking a walk - as their means to create new types of art. The exhibition offers an as-yet-unwritten history of recent art practice. It proposes that, across all four of the last decades, artists have worked as kinds of explorers, whether making their marks on rural wildernesses or acting as urban expeditionaries. It argues that from land art to conceptual art, and from street photography to the essay-film, much of the important art of our time has been created through an act of walking.

The exhibition brings together nearly 40 artists who all make work by undertaking a journey on foot. In doing so, they all stake out new artistic territory. They do so whether using the city street as their studio, or the landscape as their natural habitat - as a place to dwell in and dwell upon rather than represent in conventional ways. Artists such as Richard Long have crossed countries and continents to create works, leaving traces of their movements on the land itself. Some walking artists only exhibit documents from their journeys, whether photographs, texts or artefacts. For them, the walk undertaken is itself the artwork - as a kind of performance over time - and anything else only evidence or documentation. Others, such as Bruce Nauman, have explored the infinite grammatical possibilities of walking: looking at how we walk shows the world who we are. Others still, such as Marina Abramovic, have walked on historic sites - undertaking an epic journey across the length of the Great Wall of China, in a symbolic act of separation and being re-united with her then collaborator Ulay. The exhibition includes several internationally celebrated artists alongside emerging figures who have created new works for the project.

'Walk On' is part of the Festival of the North East through June 2013: for more information see

The exhibition is curated with Cynthia Morrison-Bell and artist Mike Collier in partnership with NGCA, and supported by Arts Council England. In 2013-14 the exhibition will tour to Aberdeen Art Gallery and Plymouth Art Gallery, organised by Art Circuit Touring Exhibitions, London.

Walk On: Further Events & Exhibitions

'Walk On; Art-Walking Northumberland'

'Walk On' is organised in conjunction with 'Walk On: Art-Walking Northumberland' a series of participatory art-walks and events held at venues in Northumberland over the summer, initiated by Visual Arts in Rural Communities in association with Art Circuit Touring Exhibitions.

The programme's main event is an Art-Walking Weekend at Highgreen, Tarset, Northumberland on 13th and 14th July. Artists are being commissioned to lead walks that will alter participants' experience of walking and of the place. There will also be artworks, workshops and a discussion forum drawing together artists, visitors, farmers, writers, musicians, poets and local residents to share walking experiences and the creative expression of them.  The discussion forum will be chaired by the W.A.L.K research unit at the University of Sunderland. 

Further 'Walk On; Art-walking Northumberland' events across June - August are:

'Silent Beat': a participatory art-walk event devised and led by artist Alan Smith in collaboration with Allenheads Contemporary Arts, at Allenheads (date TBC).

Tim Knowles: a new exhibition at Kielder, June - July with a walking event on 13th July 2013

Heavy Plant Crossing': a participatory walking performance by artist Julia Barton at Wallington Hall on 21st and 22nd June 2013. Organised in collaboration with the National Trust.

The Art-Walking Weekend at Highgreen and the above events are organised by Visual Arts in Rural Communities (VARC) in association with Art Circuit Touring Exhibitions and supported by the Rural Development Programme for England. The latter is jointly funded by Defra, the European Union and Arts Council England. The events are realised with substantial support also from Art Circuit Touring Exhibitions and the W.A.L.K research group.

Also of interest: 'The Resilience of the Wild' exhibition of work by Mike Collier at Customs House, South Shields, 8th June - 21st July 2013. Organised by Customs House in association with Visual Arts in Rural Communities.


Walk On: On Walking

Conference: 28 - 29 JUNE 2013 at University of Sunderland

This two-day conference, held at the University of Sunderland and organised by the research group W.A.L.K. ('walking, art, landscape and knowledge') will provide a critical and discursive meeting-point for artists, writers, thinkers, and academics who are engaged in the study of walking. The conference will document the many diverse approaches to the study of walking. It accompanies the exhibition 'Walk On' and reflects the growth in the study of walking across different academic and art forms.

The conference seeks to examine and interrogate the practice and process of walking in all its cultural, ethnographic, poetic, and geographical ramifications. It seeks to bring together innovative and speculative ideas on walking, to consider walking in relation to landscape, social, cultural, artistic, vocalic, and geographical constructions of space.

Further information will be available in the upcoming months at: onwalking

Research group website: W.A.L.K.  


Music commisioned especially for 'WALK ON' has been composed by Peter Brewis. See below for link.

Peter Brewis - 'Five Pieces for Roker, and Percussion'. Sound 2013. Commissioned to accompany WALK ON