The Bluecoat presents Gina Czarnecki


December 8, 2011

9 December 2011–19 February 2012

The Bluecoat
School Lane
Liverpool, L1 3BX
United Kingdom

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A retrospective exhibition by this award-winning artist featuring new commissions and other works being shown in the UK for the first time.

Ground-breaking new media artist Gina Czarnecki makes films, installations, public art works and sculpture. Her work is influenced by the arena of biomedical science and it explores notions of belief and thresholds of perception. Czarnecki’s works raise significant questions about developments in the ‘life’ sciences and changes in culture, society and language.

Over the last three decades Czarnecki has worked in collaboration with biotechnologists, computer programmers, dancers and sound artists. She specializes in advanced technologies and elaborately orchestrates sounds, visuals and physical materials. Through sampling, generating and re-processing images and sound, Czarnecki transforms gallery spaces to create unique, immersive experiences.

The exhibition features several film installations including the UK premiere of Contagion, a large-scale, interactive work that explores parallels between biological infection and the spread of information, knowledge, rumour and myth. Another film Infected poses questions about the physical body in the context of future technological possibilities seen through dance and manipulation.

Significantly, the exhibition introduces Czarnecki’s latest works. Wasted is a series of sculptures that explore the use of human tissue in art, the life-giving potential of ‘discarded’ body parts and their relationship to myths and history. The works draw attention to timely concerns such as stem cell research and issues surrounding the process of informed consent. Commissioned by the Bluecoat, Palaces is a resin sculpture and participatory artwork made from thousands of milk teeth donated by children and their parents from around the UK.  Additional funds for its research and production were generously provided by Imperial College London and the Wellcome Trust.

Palaces will tour to the Science Museum, Imperial College London and the Centre of the Cell, London in 2012, and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry in 2013.

Gina Czarnecki’s work has been exhibited internationally at major museums and festivals including: the Natural History Museum, London; Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne; Adelaide Film Festival; and Ars Electronica, Linz. She won the prestigious Creative Scotland Award in 2002 for work on her interactive installation Silvers Alter, a Fleck Fellowship with the Banff Centre, Canada in 2004, and a Wellcome Trust Sci–Art Award in 2005 for production of Contagion. She has been working as artist in residence with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and also in collaboration with Imperial College, London, to research and create the new work presented in this exhibition. Gina Czarnecki lives and works in Liverpool.

Gina Czarnecki is curated by Sara-Jayne Parsons, Exhibitions Curator at the Bluecoat.

Live programme of events accompanying the exhibition
Exhibition Tour: Sat 10 December 2–3.30pm
Artist Gina Czarnecki and Sara-Jayne Parsons, the Bluecoat’s Exhibitions Curator, lead a tour of the exhibition. (Free, just turn up.)

Contagion: Sun 11 December 2–3.30pm
Using Gina Czarnecki’s installation Contagion as a backdrop for discussion, artists and scientists discuss the theme of pandemics, public health and the possibilities of creative collaboration.
Speakers include: Stephen Corbett (Associate Director, Population Health Clinical Support Division (Western), Centre for Population Health, Sydney, Australia); Tim Kreger (Musician and Lecturer in Computer Music currently involved in developing interactive applications for museums, galleries and research institutions) and artist Gina Czarnecki. (Free, but booking required.)

Chris Watson – Quarantine: Fri 27 January 7.30–9.30pm
Founder member of influential Sheffield based music group Cabaret Voltaire, Chris Watson is one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena. His work includes contributions to David Attenborough’s The Frozen Planet BBC TV Series and his Weather Report was named in The Guardian’s 1,000 Albums to Hear Before You Die list. Here Chris Watson presents the UK premiere of new album El Tren Fantasma and a live performance of his sound score for Quarantine, a video work by Gina Czarnecki. Using stethoscope recordings from inside the performer’s body mixed with guttural sounds through physical exertion and body impact, breaths, heartbeats and tendons, Watson’s work presents a rich tapestry drawing us deeper into motion, rhythm, time and space. (Free, but booking required.)

Iona Kewney with Joseph Quimby: Sat 28 January 7.30–9.30pm
A collaboration in movement and sound, pushing physical boundaries and exploring the limitations of the senses. Performing solo for 15 years, Iona Kewney has developed an idiosyncratic style that mixes dance, live music, texts, drawings and physical movement. She features in Quarantine and Infected, video works by Gina Czarnecki. (Free but booking required)

Meet the artist: Sat 4 February 2–3.30pm
Gina Czarnecki will be working on the Palaces sculpture and is free to answer your questions. A great opportunity to find out more about this unique artwork containing thousands of milk teeth, donated by children and their parents from across the country. (Free, just turn up.)

Pernille Spence NaCI: Sat 4 February 4.30–5.30pm
Standing in a glass tank, an almost motionless body will gradually be buried under one ton of salt, chosen for its loaded political and economic history and the striking contradictions such a basic but beautiful substance holds. Performed by Pernille Spence, a visual, new media and performance artist, whose practice explores a visual dialogue between the human body, movement and space, and the body’s physical/psychological limits and constraints within specific parameters. (Free, but booking required.)

Gallery talk by Sara Rankin: Everything you need to know about stem cells – a beginner’s guide for the non-scientist: Wed 8 February, 4.30–5.30pm
Sara Rankin, Professor in Leukocyte and Stem Cell Biology at Imperial College London, is currently researching how stem cells could be the key to tissue regeneration. For several years now she has collaborated with artist Gina Czarnecki on the research and creation of Wasted, a series of sculptures that explore the use of human tissue in art, the life-giving potential of ‘discarded’ body parts and their relationship to myths and history. (Free, but booking required.)

Should living people be able to donate their own human tissue to art?: Wed 8 February 6–7.30pm
Join artist Gina Czarnecki, Roger Phillips (BBC Merseyside) and guest speakers, including Professor Rankin, for this timely debate. The audience will be able to comment and ask questions. (Free, but booking required.)

The exhibition Gina Czarnecki and accompanying events are supported by:
Liverpool City Council
Arts Council England
The Wellcome Trust
Imperial College London