Contemporary Art festival takes on Glastonbury as Norwich explodes into life

By Culture24 Staff | 14 July 2009
A picture of two people kissing in front of a red neon light

(Above) Mariano Pensotti's work stars at Contemporary Art Norwich

Festival: Contemporary Art Norwich 2009, various venues, Norwich, July 11 – August 31 2009

More than 100 artists from across the world are descending on Norwich this summer for Contemporary Art Norwich, an "exhilarating" festival of exhibitions, residencies, commissions, site-specific works and sprawling live art activities bringing together a host of culture organisations in the region.

A picture of metallic structures inside a cage in a gallery

Work by Louise Bourgeios features. Picture © the artist

Highlights this year include La Marea, a three-evening performance in a city centre street recreating nine fictional scenes in shop windows and street corners, placing the audience as voyeurs in the debut showing of Argentinean writer and theatre director Mariano Pensotti's 2005 piece.

A picture of a woman inside a record shop

Berlin by Mariano Pensotti. Picture © the artist

EASTinternational, an open submission exhibition which has been held at the Norwich University College of the Arts since 1991, returns with a display co-curated by the independent Raster Gallery in Warsaw, starring creations by 25 artists from the UK, Poland, Austria, Germany, Australia and Canada.

A picture of a scrawling of a man on a police report

Art by Barbara Walker at the Norwich University College of the Arts

The Polish theme continues at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Take a Look at Me Now is a multi-disciplinary array of the latest designs by 14 contemporary artists from the country, and An Impossible Journey, a showcase of work by Tadeusz Kantor, a painted, stage-designer and performer, illuminates his haunting avant-garde theatre, shifting actors and mannequins through intensely emotional pieces.

A picture of two robotic half-naked men shifting boxes

Anna Molska at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Norfolk Contemporary Art Society take to the city's Forum throughout August for Photo-ID, a contemplation of identity by 10 specially-commissioned photographers, and Norwich Castle's long history as a prison is explored through No Visible Means of Escape, an exploration of the psychology of incarceration considering surveillance as a form of modern imprisonment through death masks, phrenology and recorded evidence.

A picture of two men shifting poles inside a white space

Julie Masterton, Study for a Uniform (2008). Work to be displayed at the Norwich University College of the Arts

Elsewhere there are ficticious, large-scale colour tableaux snaps by Norfolk-based artist Frances Kearney at Norwich Arts Centre, focusing on "the idea of finding sanctuary in nature during childhood", and Rub Me Up The Wrong Way, a "live art supergig" by arch provocateur Richard Dedomenici, which is being touted as a "postmodern Glastonbury" thanks to its line-up of explosive bands.

A black and white picture of a man inside a bath splattered with material which resembles paint or blood

An Impossible Journey will highlight the career of haunting Polish artist Tadeusz Kantor

Just in case there weren't enough artists to fill East Anglia, Outpost Gallery has also invited 21 domestic and international artists to embark upon a series of residencies in the space between now and the end of August, revolving to provide a constant stream of activity.

A picture of four unusually shaped chairs inside a room with wood panelled flooring and white walls

James Hopkin, Love Seat (2007). At Norwich University College for the Arts

Norfolk and Norwich Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said the programme represented a chance to "re-experience our worlds in a completely new way" where "the humdrum becomes beautiful."

"This region has been known for the richness of its artistic talent and endeavour for a long time," he declared. "2009 is the year when the East of England shakes up the visual art world with a new confidence and brings together a remarkable breadth of work you simply wouldn't see anywhere else."

Visit the festival website for full details.

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