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Castlegate Art: Aikaterini Gegisian, Turn Back Tide, 2017

26 July 2017 10:00 am - 30 June 2019 5:00 pm

Image credit: Aikaterini Gegisian, Turn Back Tide, 2017

Co-commissioned by Castlegate Shopping Centre, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art


Opens 26 July 2017 at 6.00pm; on view through June 2019


Castlegate Art is a biennial art commission for the exterior of the Castlegate Shopping Centre in Stockton-on-Tees. Opened in 1973, Castlegate Shopping Centre is located in the centre of Stockton-on-Tees between High Street and the north bank of the River Tees. For Castlegate Art, practitioners are invited to make works to be reproduced at large scale for display on the rear exterior of the building, facing out onto the riverside.

For the 2017 edition, Greece-born, Middlesbrough-based artist Aikaterini Gegisian has been selected to produce a new work responding to this site. Gegisian’s new work is the third commission for the Castlegate Shopping Centre, and the first under the new brand, Castlegate Art.

Gegisian’s practice explores questions of identity, nationhood and the cultural meanings of images. In much of her work, she collages found photographs, magazine cuttings, documents and other materials from a variety of contexts to find cultural connections between disparate regions and periods.

Gegisian’s new work for Castlegate Art, entitled Turn Back Tide, explores the industrial heritage of Stockton-on-Tees and the wider Tees Valley. Turn Back Tide takes as its starting point a series of product catalogues from various former local factories, including South Durham Steel and Iron Co. and Head Wrightson. Diagrams of steel sections from these publications, along with archival photographs of local industries, are contrasted with depictions of ancient temples taken from archaeological books and magazine reproductions of decorative objects.

Turn Back Tide is a continuation of a series of works in which Gegisian explores the industrial heritage of the northeast of England through the prism of archaeology. By juxtaposing imagery from different histories, geographies and cultures, she makes connections between the ruins of ancient civilizations and the decline of the monumental industrial structures that have historically characterised Teesside.

Turn Back Tide also acts as a bridge between the former sites of industrial production surrounding central Stockton-on-Tees, the river as a historic route for the transportation of industrial goods and natural resources, and the shopping centre as the present container of goods. Gegisian’s images are collaged along a horizon line, reflecting the flow of the River Tees, and suggesting the fluid evolution of central Stockton-on-Tees from an industrial past towards its current status as a centre of trade and service provision. 

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