- Part of...Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson: At 25 Metres
- Gallery 1
The Fireworks is a single screen video in which Gallery 1 is subjected to an intense pyrotechnic assault. A 'display' unfolds, beginning with relatively tentative flashes and pulses, before gaining pace with green, red and blue explosions and clouds of smoke as rockets ricochet off walls, floor and ceiling.
Crowe and Rawlinson sought to create a spectacle at odds with the aesthetics of the polite civic display but of course it wasn't just a matter of lighting a fuse and hoping for the best - whether or not from the recommended safe distance of 25 metres. The pyrotechnics were choreographed in collaboration with a pyrotechnic designer who then pre-programmed the design into a firing schedule.
The work suggests the magnitude of an outdoor public display trapped and suppressed within the geometry of an interior public space. The display is also 'contained' within the single frame of the video image and the projection itself is inside a large 'black box' wthin the gallery space. The positive associations of fireworks are unnaturally blocked and denied, creating an inherent tension in the work.
This sense of a dysfunctional public display is at the centre of the work and highlights both the increasing role of the gallery as a site of spectacle and the way in which munitions of a different kind have become a staple of our visual culture in recent years, via news broadcasts and the media. In this light The Fireworks can be read as a thoughtful reflection on the function of the gallery as a critical space as well as affirmation of its power to engage and delight.