Russian illegal prison on IZOLYATSIA premises has been operational for 10 years.

(RE)GROUNDING: Exhibition opening in Newcastle

On 18 November, IZOLYATSIA and D6 open the exhibition (Re)Grounding in Newcastle. The event will take place at The NewBridge Project cultural centre. The event will feature the works of Alexandra Clod (Krolikowska) and Karolina Uskakovich, who explore the industrial heritage of the UK and Ukraine, as well as the effects of climate change on our lives.

Journeying from the industrial landscapes of Ukraine to former coal mines and community gardens of the North East of England, artists Alexandra Clod (Krolikowska) and Karolina Uskakovych respond to the climate crisis by exploring the shared industrial past of the UK and Ukraine and its impact today.

We know the climate crisis spans social, political, and environmental injustices that must be addressed to achieve a sustainable future. We are seeing these injustices play out in Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which is profoundly affecting the people and place, and destabilising global food and energy markets. We can see the climate crisis impacting people with the least resources to tackle it. We can also look back to the worldwide impact of the industrial revolution on the climate crisis today.

Taking these interconnections, the artists have developed new work during the year-long research residencies, connecting artistic practice, heritage, and communities in the UK and Ukraine.

The story of coal and its extraction is at the heart of Alexandra’s series of works entitled Katabasis, which references the journey to the underworld of classical mythology. For her film The Roots of My Longing, she journeyed to coal spoil heaps in Ukraine’s Lviv region to reenact her grandfather's work as a miner. While in a series of still-life photographs, everyday objects like mining lamps and pieces of coal are placed next to artefacts with mythological or literary meaning, such as pomegranates and roses. Together they put industrial heritage in the myths of the past.

Karolina looks to gardening and familial and spiritual connections to place. Boots on the Ground, Hands in the Soil is a film that captures long-distance and in-person conversations with the artist’s grandmother about her tomato garden, which takes on a new meaning after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Karolina has recorded its sounds to transport audiences to the park and recreated its smells with essential oils extracted from the tomato foliage. Alongside the film, is an installation featuring flower beds, photos, and a map of communal gardens in Newcastle, where Karolina spent time researching.

Time: Saturday 18 November — Saturday 16 December
Open: Wednesday — Saturday, 12pm — 5pm
Address: The NewBridge Project,  4-8 Clarence Walk, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1AL
Preview: Friday 17 November, 5pm — 8pm 

(Re)Grounding is co-produced by D6 and Kyiv-based IZOLYATSIA, with D6 curator-in-residence Lucy Nychai. It is part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture devised jointly by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute. It was due to take place in Soledar in eastern Ukraine, but Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine halted these plans. The partners worked together to reshape the project to invite Ukrainian artists to reside at D6’s studios in Newcastle in the North East of England.