andrew carnie


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Fray: coming away at the ends 4 projector slide disolve work 2010


Coming of Age. Newcastle Great North Museum. see Guardian article

for Coming of Age at GV Art London, June to August 2012 see




recent images from the Great North Museum Newcastle


Fray was made in 2010 for the exhibition Coming of Age for Newcastles, Great Norht Museum, for the show coming of age, currated by Lucy Jenkins. The project was helped by Prof Tom Kirkwood and Prof Eric Cross.

I am working on a time-based piece for the Coming of Age Show in Newcastle. The work is a reflection on the biochemistry involved as cells begin to falter in their function towards the end of life.

I started with a broad approach looking at many ways of working; but concluded a time-based piece would be best suited because of the ‘coming’ changing time related aspects of the process of ageing. This position was taken up as I visited the various labs at the Institute of Ageing and University in Newcastle talked to different research teams and began to read more and more about the processes involved.

The effect of these visits has been to increase my wonderment at the processes that keep us alive. What a fine balance it is to keep us going, what a tightrope walk we lead in living. So much can go wrong, and does eventually; as so many processes can destroy the individual cells we are made of.

So instead of feeling sad at looking at the sense of decline I prefer to turn it around and look at it as a positive insight into how it is possible that we live. How complex the processes are that make us who we become.

The work is to be a meditative piece that follows the 10 or more ways that come together in the cell to cause us to age; the protein debris that accumulates, the chromosome damage produced, etc. etc. The work blends the processes at play in the cell with the protagonist of the piece looking at the cells of the body and how they change and how they loose the ‘act of balance’ to work. The figure in the slide piece is looking at him-self, in a state of change, at him-self as a ‘single’ cell undergoing the complex cellular changes in ageing that have been brought to my attention in Newcastle. The work is art though and does not stick strictly to the biochemistry it acts as a metaphor for the complex processes at play.

At this point in the process I have produced over 200 images of the 324 I will need for the four projector dissolve piece I plan to make, have collected together the slide mounts and film, and booked in the processing to make the work.



computer mock ups of how the work might look


Andrew has worked with scientists from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health to produce a new time based work, based on the cellular biology of ageing. The slide sequence is based around an image of a male figure projected onto two sets of screens which outlines the ten or so processes that eventually lead to the demise of the cell in ageing. The figure though male is meant to stand in for ‘any’ person. The outline of the body becomes the membrane of the cell and sometimes the figure depicted on one screen set is seen watching the ageing process in his own cells depicted on the other. The work has been influenced by the extraordinary audacity of life and living and how it is such a complex balancing act. So much can go wrong in our bodies that it is remarkable that we stay alive. When problems occur the body has fascinating systems in the cell that correct the countless mistakes that transpire. In a sense the body is continually at war with itself. It is an ongoing battle, damage being done and repairs being made all the time.

I hope I can express through the work some of this wonderment that one understands about the cellular changes that take place at the point of decline into old age. By wondering about the process that seem to be many that cause ageing it makes one wonder at the incredible balance and complexity in the body that keeps us alive from day to day.



more images from the great north museum, hancock newcastle


Coming of Age

This is a dynamic exhibition bringing together the scientific and artistic communities by exploring aspects of ageing and life expectancy.

The show features works by Edgar Degas, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Henry Moore, Nicholas Nixon, John Coplans, Melanie Manchot, Carla Bromhead, Susie Rea, Valerie Laws, Susan Aldworth, Linda Fleming Jordan Baseman and Sharon Bailey, and new commissions by Annie Cattrell, Andrew Carnie and Jennie Pedley.


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