Peter J. Evans @ BALTIC 39

You can start to hear the exhibition from the 2nd floor as you wait for the lift, clambering steadily up to the fourth floor. I didn’t even realise it was part of the exhibition; the sounds were mesmerising and I was intrigued, wanting to follow this strange, mystical, Clanger Planet music.  An eerie ensemble of chimes and jarred rhythmic bells meets you as you are opened into the exhibition space at the top of Baltic 39. I was met by some very attentive and polite staff, but other than them I was alone, which as usual suits me well.

The atmosphere was exceptional. The sinister tinkling entices you into and around the space, echoing throughout the project space and indirectly engaging you, inducing an uncomfortable, dreamlike state. This exhibition, as Evans states, is on “the nature of reality and ideas of finite truth in an infinitely changeable universe”. He absolutely achieves this, I feel, with maturity and fluidity. There are intricate, logical details within what could seem to be a chaotic, illogical structure to this project space. For me, each piece flowed onto the next, bringing a disjointed harmony in trying to make sense and find clarity within these contained works.

‘An eerie ensemble of chimes and jarred rhythmic bells meets you as you are opened into the exhibition space at the top of Baltic 39’

  Sometimes deliberately playful, perhaps shown best in work No.12 “No memory of a title”, in which you can direct a remote controlled car to draw on various maps collaged together to make up the North East. I spent at least 15 minutes happily playing, turns out it is incredibly addictive – I would recommend it as 2nd date material, 10/10. But despite the somewhat face value playfulness and simplicity, it was stronger for me – it was really cathartic and calming, drawing your own paths, roads, rivers, futures.

This melancholy note echoed in a couple of other works, most notably for myself was No.13 “Tower of meaning”. In scrubby pencil writing, the words ‘Any change of path results in change of outcome’  were marked on a board halfway up the wooden tower. It is melancholy.

‘Reminded of our finite mortality within this universe’

  Maybe it was the day. I went on the 14th November, the morning after the night of horror in Paris. It was a sad, cold day as I marched through Newcastle to get to Baltic 39. I think perhaps the city felt it; felt the fragility and vulnerability of the world. Reminded of our finite mortality within this universe. With the quiet childlike music constantly echoing gently in the background, nostalgia flooded over in waves – something familiar, yet a sense of anxiousness about this unknown; for me, resonating Evan’s notion of finding a place in this ever changing universe. No.15 “Let me see your geometry” in particular, was part of a beautiful ending to the project – they were like contained universes within the graph paper, constellations splashed across the wall.

    Go see it. Take a friend, take a first tinder date – there will never be an awkward silence and there will be too much to talk about, or too much to think about: basking in the comfortable silence of your o≠≠≠≠wn thoughts on the nature of reality in an infinitely changeable universe.

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