GATESHEAD.- Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
presents a solo exhibition by Becks Futures Prize winner and locally based artist Matt Stokes. The Gainsborough Packet is a co-commission with London based gallery 176 and NewcastleGatesheads Baltic. Stokess research-based practice is frequently concerned with musical subcultures. He proceeds by acquainting himself with particular groups, their histories and values, then producing films, installations and event-based works related to his findings. Collaboration and shared authorship are central to his practice, as is an enthusiasm for DIY approaches.
The Gainsborough Packet is the culmination of a years research and development, which began with Stokess discovery in the Tyne & Wear Archives of a letter written in 1828 by an ordinary man named John Burdikin living in Newcastle upon-Tyne. Tracing the adventures of Burdikins life, the letter was the inspiration for lyrics, music and a 16mm film created by Stokes and his collaborators on the project. For The Gainsborough Packet, Stokes has collaborated with musician Jon Boden from acclaimed folk-big-band Bellowhead, composer Alistair Anderson, who is one of the UKs leading exponents of the folk tradition and co-founder of The Sage Gatesheads Folkworks, and Tim Kerr, an iconic figure of the US punk and early hardcore scene.
The Gainsborough Packet engages with folk traditions, contemporary music videos and popular culture, and is being produced with a particular sensitivity to the shared legacy of folk music in Camden, London and NewcastleGateshead, where Stokes lives. Since the rapid growth of these areas during the latter half of the 19th century, folk music and traditions have played an important role in the social and cultural fabric of each area, and this relevance is highlighted by The Gainsborough Packet.
Alessandro Vincentelli Head of Programme adds: The Gainsborough Packet is a thrilling collaboration between two cities brought together despite their geography. It offers a fascinating insight into the world of urban communities in the 19th Century and an enthralling look at the social and folk histories of both places. Through this exhibition BALTIC continues to support work created by regionally based artists and extends our partnership with 176, the London gallery founded by Newcastle born collector Anita Zabludowicz. It will also bring alive the mesmerising life story of a remarkable local man which, in John Burdikins own words was deserving, distressing and incredibly interesting.
Matt Stokes originates from Cornwall and now lives and works in NewcastleGateshead, England. In 2006, he won the Becks Futures Prize and recent solo exhibitions include Real Arcadia (LuttgenMeijer, Berlin), Now is Early (VOID Gallery, Derry), Long After Tonight (Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago and Ziehersmith, New York), [un]promised land (Attitudes espace d'arts contemporains, Geneva), Lost in the Rhythm (Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin), and Pills to Purge Melancholy (Collective, Edinburgh). Forthcoming shows (both Solo and Group) will take place at, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead), Centro per lArte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Prato), Deptford X (London). Stokes is currently producing new commissions for Arthouse (Austin) and VIVID (Birmingham).
His first monograph, Lost in the Rhythm, was published in 2007 by Collective and Art Editions North, in association with Temple Bar Gallery. The book documents and explores Stokess performance based investigations into alternative and underground music cultures such as the Northern Soul scene and the Rave phenomenon, with essays by Rob Tufnell, Matthew Collin and Momus.