extra(ordinary) - Photographs of Britain by the Caravan Gallery

6 Mar 2015 – 1 May 2015


Travel Information

  • St Peter's Metro Station
  • Sunderland Station

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Artists The Caravan Gallery will reveal work citywide across Sunderland in conjunction with both a major exhibition of their work at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, and a new study of the city, the Pride of Place Project.


The project is the first installment of a national tour across the length and breadth of the UK throughout 2015 and 2016, encompassing many of the countryʼs galleries and photographic venues including Impressions Gallery, Bradford; Ffotogallery's Diffusion Festival, Cardiff; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; Museum of Lancashire, Preston; and Solent Showcase, Southampton.

The Caravan Gallery document the unseen aspects of the way we live now. For fifteen years their work has examined those practices of daily life, places or spaces, and processes of social change that the mainstream media frequently overlook. Alongside a major new exhibition, extra, that represents a distillation of their observations from over a decade and a half, the Pride of Place Project brings the artists into direct contact with the public to learn about secret parts of the cities they visit. The Caravan Galleryʼs photographic practice is based on travel - near and far. The artists re-appropriate what has been called ʻthe touristʼs gazeʼ to see spaces, places and people that are seldom visited or thought worthy of ʻtouristicʼ attention. The sites and sights that the artists document are often precisely those beneath a threshold of visibility. Like the very best travel writing, their work opens our eyes to those things already beneath our feet. Their work might be said to echo the approach taken by author Ignacio Vidal-Folch in his book ʻBarcelona: Secret Museumʼ. For Williams and Teasdale, the city itself is a kind of museum - a place of secret treasures - where one finds wonder, astonishment, moments of grace, and unexpected beauty. Yet this museum is itself a ʻsecretʼ even to - indeed especially to - its own residents, who bypass it daily.

The Pride of Place Project asks city dwellers to share in this project: to look again at their shared habitat, across its beauty and brutality, and at the improbable, imaginative, and intransigent behaviours that we invent when forced to share space in cities.

The artistsʼ astonishing observational acuity will be put to the test when confronted with residentsʼ own lifetimes of observations about the places they live in. The artists ask: how do we live together? What do we invest our time and energy in collectively - or when no-one is looking? Just what is it that makes us different or distinctive? As part of their national touring project The Caravan Gallery will spend a six-week residency at each city they visit, undertaking research into what people imagine defines them and where they live - and how far their sense of place creates their sense of self.

The Caravan Gallery is a collaboration between artists and photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale, who use photography to document what they call the "reality and surreality" of the everyday. Founded in 2000, The Caravan Gallery is a mobile gallery run by Williams and Teasdale housed in a 1969 mustard coloured caravan. The venue has travelled thousands of miles putting contemporary art to unexpected locations and tens of thousands of people.

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