Artist Sam Belinfante curates show about listening at BALTIC Project Space

By Mark Sheerin | 22 September 2014

Exhibition preview: LISTENING – Curated by Sam Belinfante, BALTIC’s Project Space at BALTIC 39, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, September 26 2014 – January 11 2015

Black and white photo of a woman listening to headphones
Imogen Stidworthy, video still from the installation Sacha (2011-12). Wiretap analyst Sacha Van Loo working on a voice recording© Image courtesy Imogen Stidworthy / Matt's Gallery, London / AKINCI, Amsterdam
Dare one say it, The Hayward Gallery gives curating a good name. High-concept shows on the South Bank have seen the enterprising space explore light, invisibility and, of late, the body.

Meanwhile touring shows do just as welll, and from Margate to Manchester have found, say, writer Brian Dillon and artist Jeremy Deller taking the reins and staging two of the UK's most engaging shows of recent years.

Both those shows are still on the road and should draw many thousands of the 750,000 estimated to see Hayward Touring shows each year.

The latest mobile exhibition features work staged by artist Sam Belifante. And he’s gathered the likes of Laure Prouvost, Janet Cardiff, Haroon Mirza and Christian Marclay for a show which gets underway in Newcastle but will also visit Liverpool, Sheffield and Norwich.

Belinfante was chosen to curate the show out of some 130 proposals. So the latest big idea to join the Gallery’s Department of Big Ideas is sound art - or, to be more accurate, "listening".

The artist will be asking what it means to use the sense of hearing within a visual arts context. But with drawings and prints alongside sculpture and video, some works will be noisier than others.

Indeed, one focal point of the exhibition offers near total silence. But those who enter the anehoic chamber, designed by Mirza, will realise that they are never alone without the sounds of circulating blood and breath.

Belinfante said: “I wanted to create an exhibition that interrogates the act of listening itself, rather than merely its aural object”, adding: “Listening engages the body in a multitude of ways.”

So the show offers total involvement, a quality which imaginative curation, at its best, can still deliver.

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday 12pm-6pm (8pm Thursday)Admission free.

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