Bleary-eyed sleepers woken up to be photographed, prowling coyotes caught on specialist digital cameras, and a helicopter spotlight searching the night time waters for a missing person. These are just some of the highlights of a new exhibition which opened at the Bluecoat
in Liverpool this autumn, before touring the UK.
Independent curator Angela Kingston was invited by the Bluecoat to curate 3 am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night. The exhibition features 22 UK and international artists, including Francis Alÿs, Sophy Rickett, and Fred Tomaselli, and includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography and video, some made especially for the show.
The exhibition demonstrates how this particular nocturnal hour has captured the imagination of artists. They explore various themes psychological, sociological, natural and astronomical to capture something of the strangeness of the night and the extraordinary range of emotions, states and experiences it witnesses.
The featured artworks show teenagers running wild and free, a womans rapture at the cosmos, a man quite alone and afraid, the steely imaginings of a frightened child, and an emboldened fox.
· Photographs from Tom Woods The Chelsea Reach series, which shows revellers at the New Brighton club of the same name;
· Frances Alÿs film, The Nightwatch, in which a wild fox, let loose in the National Portrait Gallery, was recorded by surveillance cameras;
· Haunting sculptures that suggest dream states by Rachel Kneebone and Nathan Mabry;
· A new, intricate installation by Brazilian artist Sandra Cinto, made during a residency at the Bluecoat;
· Sophy Ricketts photographic series of smartly dressed women urinating while standing up in the most unlikely of locations;
· The song of a nightclub cloakroom attendant in Liverpool artist Paul Rooneys sound piece, Lights Go On;
· Dorothy Crosss Searchlight photographs documenting helicopter spotlights skimming the sea, searching in vain for missing persons;
· Disturbing life size images by Danny Treacy of himself dressed in discarded clothes he finds in the street in the dead of night;
· Michael Palm & Willi Dorners film documenting young people reclaiming deserted, late-night city streets through ingenious performance actions;
· Marc Hulsons intimate drawings set within the dark recesses of our domestic spaces.
Kingston said: Visitors to 3 am will venture into the far night as somewhere that offers refuge and release from the pressures of the day, a place of adventure and creativity. It belongs, too, to nature and nocturnal creatures and to sexual encounters and death. Also, its a time of lawlessness and abjection, and the dark realm of ghouls and witchery.
3 am could be seen as a metaphor for our current situation: we have reached the nadir, are in a very dark place, with only the hope of imagination and daring. The exhibition, with an associated series of nocturnally themed events, comes therefore at an opportune time.
The Bluecoats Artistic Director Bryan Biggs said: We were delighted when Angela approached us with her idea for 3 am. The night seemed to be fertile territory for the artist, and her selection of some of the most engaging artists working today promises to produce an imaginative and compelling exhibition, a nocturnal journey to the outer extremes.
To accompany 3 am, Liverpool University Press, in association with the Bluecoat, is publishing a 100-page anthology for insomniacs, featuring contemporary and historic night-related material and illustrations of artworks in the exhibition.
The full list of featured artists is: Francis Alÿs, Tonico Lemos Auad, Jordan Baseman, Sandra Cinto, Dorothy Cross, Dornith Doherty, Anthony Goicolea, Marc Hulson, Rachel Kneebone, Nathan Mabry, Michael Palm & Willi Dorner, Hirsch Perlman, Ed Pien, Lucy Reynolds, Sophy Rickett, Paul Rooney, Anj Smith, Fred Tomaselli, Danny Treacy, Bettina von Zwehl, Tom Wood
3 am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night is showing at the Bluecoat, Liverpool, from 28 Sept - 24 Nov 2013 and tours until Nov 2014 to Chapter (Cardiff), The Exchange (Penzance) and Ferens Art Gallery (Hull).