NEWS: Chemical City @ MIMA | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Courtesy of Annie O’Donnell, Plans for Plants (Roscoe Road)

Synthetic production has been a feature of the Tees Valley for the past century. Major global companies such as Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) have shaped the Tees Valley’s local environment, influencing everything from its ecology to sense of place. Now, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art will be presenting Chemical City, an exhibition which explores the legacies of synthetics production in the Tees Valley, focusing on the development of plastics in the area, before expanding into broader social, economic and ecological themes.

Hosting commissions from artists based in the Tees Valley, London and Rotterdam, the exhibition will comprise of exhibits in three galleries. The first gallery will feature company magazines, archival film footage, material samples and personal memorabilia from ICIs heyday. Gallery two will feature newly commissioned artworks, whilst gallery three includes blown glass sculptures, a video piece and a floor installation that explores themes of conflict and memory.

Elinor Morgan, MIMA’s Artistic Director, comments: “For the first time, we are combining contemporary mainstream fashion products with newly commissioned artworks and historical archival materials. We hope this will create a rich experience for our visitors and community of learners, leading to new understandings of material innovation and environmental concerns.”

Featured artists include painter Onya McCausland, whose practice involves repurposing waste material from post-industrial landscapes into paint pigment; Billingham-based Annie O’Donnell investigates histories of place, identity and belonging through sculpture, movement, performance and collaboration, and moving image artist Katarina Zdjelar, who makes work which examines the human body’s potential for resistance and collective action.

Chemical City is at MIMA, Middlesbrough until Sunday 24th April

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