• Mark-wallinger-5

    Mark Wallinger: Study for 10000000000000000 (detail), 2012. © the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Colin Davison

Art

Checkmate! Mark Wallinger's new show at The BALTIC is bafflingly brilliant

Posted by Catherine Gaffney,

Order, chaos, and chance play out throughout Site, Mark Wallinger’s new exhibition, which has just opened at the BALTIC Gateshead (22 June to 14 October 2012).

The largest installation, 10000000000000000, consists of thousands of differently shaped stones placed individually on the black or white squares of an enormously extended chessboard. The initial effect is of a remote shoreline, evoking an expansive rain-washed beach where the tide is far, far out and where shoes are a definite must. On further inspection, however, the intense regularity of the checked floor-surface reveals itself, reminiscent of school corridors and Vermeer’s tidy domestic scenes. This overlapping and breakdown of conventional binaries – such as order and chaos, or wilderness and domesticity – is fitting for an artist who, in this exhibition, showcases a range of work that confronts physical and cultural constructions.

There are 65,536 stones used in 10000000000000000, and the title is in fact the binary expression of the decimal number. This seemingly random decimal number, 65536, is also in fact very ordered – it is a “superperfect” number, a square achieved by saying to yourself (or your calculator), "two by two is four, four by four is sixteen, sixteen by sixteen is 256, 256 by 256 is… presto, 65,536! And so the number of stones used in fact hide a type of strict mathematical order that is visually expressed in the square shapes of the chessboard. The Other Wall, meanwhile, refers to Wallinger’s witty habit of "mark-making’ – whereby he writes his first name in chalk on the various bricks of walls (geddit?) in central London. In this case, numbers are applied sequentially, pre-assembly, to each brick, and then the wall is built without recourse to the numbers – so their overall appearance is completely random.

Construction Site, is a film depicting three builders erecting and then dismantling a scaffolding on a beach. Set against the backdrop of the sea and with the top of the structure aligning with its horizon, Wallinger draws attention to the construction of structures that are usually regarded as peripheral – and yet, are undeniably pivotal – to the construction of other structures. The idea is to highlight the construction of scaffolding itself, and arguably presents an interesting meditation on how we, the viewer, construct shapes and patterns and ideas out of things we see. Are the scaffolders actually “framing” the scene behind them, or are we? Or is Wallinger?

The show runs until October 14, admission free.

  • Wallinger-proper

    Mark Wallinger: SITE. Featuring The Other Wall, 2012 and 10000000000000000, 2012. © the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Colin Davison

  • Mark-wallinger-4

    Mark Wallinger: 10000000000000000, 2012 (detail). © the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Colin Davison

  • Mark-wallinger-8

    Mark Wallinger: The Other Wall, 2012. © the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Colin Davison

  • Mark-wallinger-6

    Mark Wallinger: SITE. Featuring Construction Site, 2011 and 10000000000000000, 2012 (detail). © the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Colin Davison

  • Mark-wallinger-7

    Mark Wallinger: Construction Site, 2011. © the artist. Courtesy of the artist, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Photograph: Colin Davison

Portrait13

Posted by Catherine Gaffney

Catherine joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Trinity College Dublin and Central Saint Martins. She wrote for the site between June and August 2012.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. London-is-changing-intlist

    Public art project London is Changing makes Londoners uncomfortably aware of the truths we’re perhaps trying to ignore: that our city is morphing beyond recognition, that creativity is at risk, and that for many people, it’s simply becoming unaffordable.

  2. Bensanders-potdealer-3-int_copy

    While keeping himself busy with postmodern Howard Hodgkin-esque painting and collage work, Ben Sanders is somehow finding the time to paint funny faces on ceramics. Cutting through the “worthy lifestyle” pottery trend with googly eyes, zigzag nostrils and creepy grins, Ben has stamped his sense of humour and aesthetic all over these thriving succulents’ homes.

  3. Olafur-eliasson_little-sun-int-1

    A “giddy joy” was described as the feeling evoked by the artwork of Olafur Eliasson when we interviewed him for last year’s Autumn edition of Printed Pages, and with his monumental, often participatory pieces, it’s not hard to see why. From his incredible 2003 Weather Project at Tate Modern to its portable, socially-conscious, tiny counterpart Little Sun(which “produces clean, affordable, and portable solar-powered lamps to areas of the world without reliable access to electricity”), his work is a glorious, utterly original ray of light shining on the sometimes impenetrable art world.

  4. Christian-marclay-vinyl-factory-int-1

    In another brilliant feat of creative engineering that bridges the gap between music, art and design, a project at the White Cube gallery in London’s Bermondsey sees musicians including Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore perform a composition for Christian Marclay, which is recorded and pressed on site by The Vinyl Factory Press. The press is housed in a shipping container, and the artwork for the record – also created on site – is designed by Christian and printed by Coriander Press, in a series that feels like cottage industry, DIY ideas brought into a slick, art-world setting.

  5. Lynda-benglis-int11

    “Think of bayous…crawfish…sea creatures…metal…tieing shoelaces…not knowing what to do sometimes and just doing it.” This is Lynda Benglis’ bizarre monologue, with which she ends the introduction to her new show.

  6. Brechtvandenbroucke-the-fame-main-int

    Brecht, after five years of admiring your work I can happily say that I can spell your name without looking. And I can tell you that even though I’ve spent years admiring the skill of your painting, I can finally say that I think I actually get it. Over time, Brecht’s erratic artworks have become increasingly crowded with characters, pop culture references, logos, and his trademark long-limbed creatures.

  7. Antoinecorbineau-6-int

    It’s my personal opinion that some of the most exciting creative work starts life as a side project to distract from commercial jobs. Such is definitely the case for Antoine Corbineau, a French illustrator and designer who has worked on a plethora of projects for commercial clients, drawing up large-scale, intricate scenes of characters interacting in an enormous, often map-like style. Potentially even more alluring, however, is Antoine’s painting work. It’s distinctly less bright, almost realist in its approach, depicting familiar domestic scenes and landscapes interspersed with small but resonant human activity. His attention to minute detail – the foliage of a plant, a picture frame, the icons on a computer screen – and his accuracy in creating scenes that you could swear you’d seen before makes this body of work oddly enchanting.

  8. Sethbogart-ceramics-home

    Seth Bogart is quite the Renaissance man. The frontman of San Francisco-based band Hunx & His Punx is also an artist, producing paintings, drawings and ceramics; a video director; a photographer and a fashion designer. He has collaborated with Yves Saint Laurent and has his own store, Wacky Wacko, for which he also designs installations. Seriously, this guy.

  9. Ellakru-painting-7home-int

    Latvia-born Ella Kruglyanskaya now lives and works in New York, depicting cartoon-like friends and “frienemies” out-and-about in large-scale oil paintings and murals. Ella’s work is packed with bawdy humour, exaggerated forms, exuberant mark-making and interactions. She describes her intention as “pictorial events… [that] aspire to an unspoken punch line” – the content, references and line-work all filtered through comedy.

  10. Anniedescarteaux-collage-7home-int

    Annie Descôteaux’s work is confident, engaging and straight-forwardly slapstick. The Montreal-based artist works with installation, drawing and collage and has seen her work exhibited and discussed at conferences on colour theory. In equally impressive outings, it’s also appeared in Bloomberg and Pica magazines, among other publications. Annie’s collage work is well-balanced with clean lines, sharp colours and discreet humour; each piece littered with raw steak, fried eggs and shuttlecocks.

  11. Oliviervrancken-untitled-1-inthome

    Olivier Vrancken is a graphic designer and artist based in Holland. Painting and drawing his way through commissions and personal work, he is inspired by everything from primitive art to the great lyricists that are Black Sabbath. Olivier has exhibited all over Europe, his Cubist aesthetic and visual references laden with nods to cut-outs, still life, architecture and the human form. There’s a great colour palette to his work and some nice titles like Bad Hair Day and Wanderlust. Olivier’s work reminds me of the prints that appeared all over the T-shirts of the 1980s, in a good way.

  12. Menutnutnut-drawing-4-int

    Me nut nut nut was one of Jason Murphy’s daughter’s first utterances, and is now the name for his drawings of awkward stories of fear and incompetence. Inspired by the physical comedy of The Young Ones and The Ren & Stimpy Show, Jason’s drawings rely on comic intuition and references to real-life moments, like dropping a potato on his cat.

  13. Seamus_murhpy_pj-harvey_-recording-in-progress_-2015.-an-artangel-commission.-_1_int

    While we wait to take our turn to become a sort of strangely sanctioned voyeur as PJ Harvey records her ninth album, thinking about what’s ahead feels peculiar. Essentially, we’re going to see PJ (Polly Jean) Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish, a photographer and two engineers making an album in a Something & Son-designed box, formed of glass that allows visitors to see in, while the musicians can’t see out.