Public Art Commission
Inkjet print on vinyl, 644 x 3,796 cm
Co-commissioned by Castlegate Shopping Centre, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Castlegate Art is a biennial commission for Castlegate Shopping Centre in Stockton-on-Tees. Artists are invited to make a work for display on the rear exterior of the building, facing out onto the riverside. For the 2017 edition, Aikaterini Gegisian created Turn Back Tide.
Gegisian’s new work for Castlegate Art commission, 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.