Skip to main content
Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, The Fireworks, 2007. Installation view at FACT.

A major new body of video works, featuring three FACT commissions, which explore the complexities of faith in contemporary society. Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson have collaborated since 1994, working together alongside their individual practices. In this time they have developed a diverse body of work exploring duality and its cultural effects, and the transformative potential of an event, spectacle or action.

In 2003 they presented a solo exhibition, Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson at Manchester Art Gallery, featuring the video work Two Burning Bushes. From this starting point the artists have extended their interest in religious belief in contemporary society, its hold on the individual, and its continuing ability to define communities. For At 25 Metres, a major show of new video works, we commissioned three pieces; The Fireworks, The Name of God and Two Leprechauns. A fourth, The Carriers' Prayer, has been commissioned by Film & Video Umbrella.

These works eloquently explore the complexities of faith, using the symbolic potential of fire and light. Notions of collective celebration and worship, shared civic space and cultural confusion are suggested, with each work possessing its own unique texture and character. Each work is a particular configuration of a space, and of an action that unfolds within it, and settings range from a dark abandoned chapel to the clean geometry of a modernist gallery space. The effects constructed by the artists include the meditative rhythms of movement in The Name of God and the disconcerting shrieking of burning plastic in The Carriers' Prayer . This use of sound is a key feature throughout, with the violent series of explosions of The Fireworks an aural as well as visual assault on the viewer.

Crowe and Rawlinson have created works that touch upon timely issues such as urban delinquency and 21st century conflict, whilst employing humour, contradiction and uncertainty to move beyond these themes and into less certain territory. Ideas are played out that are at once simple and concise, open and intriguing, fashioning moments of revelation and reflection from our cultural fabric.