13 November 2007

Artists Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson have unveiled four major commissions in their new exhibition At 25 Metres. The exhibition is FACT's last of 2007 and first of 2008, Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture."

In Gallery 1, The Fireworks presents the unrestrained chaos, noise and colour of a fireworks display set off in the main exhibition space at FACT. The effect is of civic display, but trapped inside a cultural space - giving rise to a sense of a celebratory impulse denied and contained.

Meanwhile, more low-tech fireworks are used in The Carrier's Prayer where everyday commercial plastic shopping bags are torn open and tied together to form 'scally fireworks'. Set in a run-down chapel this work depicts a congregation of 'lost souls' igniting and whooping up to the heavens accompanied by a strange and eerie cacophony.

The Name of God, shows people from Liverpool representing the three main Abrahamic faiths facing the camera and writing the name of God using hand-held sparklers. The word disappears and has to be re-written, serving as a metaphor for the understanding of religious faith as an active state which requires continual affirmation from the believer.

In Two Leprechauns - the artists depart in tone from the other works to present a more darkly humorous and absurd take on cultural confusion and misunderstanding. Dressed as stereotypical 'leprechauns' the artists face one another, exchanging a series of common Hebrew and Arabic phatic greetings in cod 'Oirish' accents. Their utterances may be nominal pleasantries suggestive of peace and goodwill - Shalom, Keyfahalakah and Salam Alaykum -but the pair struggle to engage in any type of meaningful dialogue, an unhappy reference to belligerent religious conflict.

Warren Bradley, Leader Liverpool City Council said, "On behalf of the city council and the city of Liverpool, thank you for bringing these works here to help us celebrate our year as European Capital of Culture."

At 25 Metres, officially opened by Warren Bradley marks a major undertaking by FACT, having commissioned three of the new works. The fourth, The Carrier's Prayer has been commissioned by Film Video Umbrella.