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'STONE' part of the AV Festival 14: Extraction

'STONE' has now closed.

Our next exhibition
'SHOW ME THE MONEY' willpreview 13 June and open the 14 June.

Exhibition dates: 1 March - 17 May 2014.

Yuri Ancarani, Vanessa Billy, Jimmie Durham and Maria Thereza Alves, Harun Farocki,Marie Lund, Dennis Oppenheim, Gabriel Orozco, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Thomas Sopwith.

'STONE' is a group exhibition which is part of the AV Festival 2014, a biennial international Festival of contemporary art, film and music, based in North East England. The exhibition is one of two thematic shows in the Festival, alongside 'METAL' at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. 'STONE' asks us to look again at our relationship to the most basic and fundamental of building and working materials. 'STONE' explores artists' relationship to the geological, and to the most basic and fundamental of the materials we have to create habitats, tools, weapons - and art objects. The artists re-examine the raw materials that create our experience of the world, from their origins deep in the ground, to their extraction, transformation and global exploitation. They note that, in the last instance, everything that we create comes from below ground, and is powered by forces trapped below the earth's surfaces.

They act on the raw material of stone and how it not only can be shaped physically by the human hand, but also be shaped - imagined - culturally. The labour involved in excavation allows us to create objects of worship or veneration, and tools which in turn allow us to alter and reimagine our natural environment. The fundamental processes of digging the earth, and removing materials through drilling, mining, quarrying, are the basis of our world. In consequence, the processes of extraction create new landforms, new substances and complex residues, and can make visible previously hidden geological strata created over vast time periods.

The exhibition includes contemporary works by leading figures including Gabriel Orozco and Harun Farocki alongside modern masters including the late American artist Dennis Oppenheim. Oppenheim's rarely shown film 'Rocked Hand' of 1970 is taken from a series of earthworks involving exchanges between the artist's body and natural elements from his environment. Also on show are historical artefacts by the nineteenth century mining engineer Thomas Sopwith. 180 years ago, Sopwith created what was a brand new way of visualising geology through his 1834 book 'A Treatise on Isometrical Drawing' and an accompanying series of models, painstakingly carved from 579 separate pieces of wood, which are on loan here from the Great North Museum.

AV Festival 14: Extraction runs from 1-31 March 2014. It takes place in over 15 venues and public sites across North East England in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. The curated programme features 11 exhibitions, 36 film screenings, 10 music concerts and 11 new commissions by national and international artists. For more information visit:avfestival.

Image: Gabriel Orozco, 'Boulder Hand', 2012, video. the artist. Courtesy of the artist and Chantal Crousel Gallery, Paris.