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Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art to Present Duane Hopkins: Sunday

GATESHEAD.- Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in partnership with Third will present Sunday, an exhibition by one of Britain’s most exciting emerging filmakers Duane Hopkins.

Sunday is a multi–screen film installation composed of a sequence of film portraits of young people within a largely blank rural landscape. Like much of Hopkins’ cinema, Sunday deals with rural British youth and the relationships between identity, psychology and environment.

The exhibition will feature five works using the different spaces of Baltic’s Level 1, presenting scenes that work visually, sonically and physically to create hallucinatory dreamlike atmospheres. Three boys are presented as the protagonists in several filmic essays that are documentary in subject and imagery, yet highly discursive in form and structure. The impression formed is suggestive of a social-realist fairytale - the subtle interaction of realist, surreal and romantic tropes.

There Are No Lions in England is the largest of the five works and is projected over a space totalling 8.5 metres wide. The image is composed of three elements pieced together as a single ‘film triptych’ – creating an image ratio that is both epic and intimate. The temporal relationships between these elements are often staggered and occasionally reversed, conjuring the notion of different parallel universes. Whilst generating ambiences that are both ominous and romantic, foreboding and yet nostalgic. The shifting interaction of the three images, a device also employed in Cigarette at Night and Strange Little Girl, work suggestively towards a complex meditation between a personal inner reality and the external world. Character and environment, time and place and the relationships between each are highlighted.

Also presented are two works called Bridge and Lamp Post.

Alessandro Vincentelli, Acting Head of Programme at Baltic adds: “With his meticulously crafted installation for Baltic, Hopkins has created an experience that is entirely separate from the conventions of sitting in a cinema. He generates a portrait of youth that has a matter of fact, harsh reality to it and a psychological intensity that is unnerving. His atmospheric films of young people are not narrative driven, but rather build up in layers, creating an immersive experience that combines close-up images and sound, against a background of an immutable bleakly beautiful, rural landscape where time seems to extend forever. His use of the full range of the spaces in the Level 1 gallery will make for an all encompassing experience for the viewer.

Hopkins has created work with a really distinctive vision. It is beautifully staged, ambitious work and generates a very different portrait of rural England ”.

After collecting a number of awards for his graduation film, Hopkins produced two further highly regarded short films; Field (2001) a dark, unblinking tale of bored children living in an unwelcoming rural area won the Golden Hugo Award at Chicago International Film Festival and Best Film at Dresden Film Festival and Love Me Or Leave Me Alone (2003), an honest examination of first love, collected Best Short Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the European Film Awards. In 2008 he released a strikingly formidable debut feature film Better Things that received great critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival and increased Hopkins’ profile, with coverage in The Independent, The Observer and The Guardian amongst others. Better Things went on to win the FIPRESCI Critics Award at the Stockholm International Film Festival 2008 and is currently on general cinema release.

Hopkins lives and works in Gateshead Tyne and Wear and Oslo , Norway . Sunday will also exhibit at FACT in Liverpool in 2009.

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