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Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich
Neil Bromwich

Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich’s work explores the space between the real landscape and an imagined location. Within this liminal space the duo create objects and situations that lead them and us on transformative experiences inviting us to consider an ‘other’ way of being.

The work treads a fine line between naive optimism and political activism. It challenges the audience to engage with their surroundings through a child-like sense of wonder. It coaxes us to ask ‘Why do things have to be this way, can’t the world be better?’ and implores us to believe we can make things more than just better.

The idealistic nature of the work is underwritten by a very humane sense of failure tangible in the fabric of the work itself. Mountains made from air and nylon are used as a means of combating border restrictions, a small helium-filled cloud attached to a harness becomes a way to enter the stratosphere, a boat masquerading as a disco ball bobbing on the oceans sets out to make audible the invisible. Each of these works embodies an extraordinary action that has a romantic and heroic appeal. We are aware that the work can only fall short of its ambitious intentions but clearly it is the act of trying that is important. Through this act all possibilities are opened and transformation can take place. This is the strategy Walker and Bromwich employ in their quest for a better world.

The use of play and frivolity to encourage reflection is present in Walker and Bromwich’s more recent artistic endeavours. Limbo-Land offers a foundation from which to contextualise the growing inventory of art produced by these two artists and to how they reveal art as a catalyst for change. Sci-fi Hot Tub (2006) Friendly Frontier (2003-2005), Love Cannon (2005-2006) and the ongoing Panacea project (in collaboration with Michael Pinsky) further explore art’s ability to overcome boundaries, and to function as a universal formula for social, economical and political problems.

Zoë Walker and Neil Bromwich have worked together since 1999 their projects including My Island Home for the V&A; Urban Nomads at South London Gallery; Fusion for St Johns Hospital Livingston and Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh; Celestial Radio for COAST with Commissions East; Love Cannon Parade with the Great Unsigned and Whitechapel Gallery; Site-Seeing; A Disneyfication of Cities at the Künstlerhaus, Vienna; and Somewhere Special at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Panacea, their most major project to date, has travelled from Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours, France, Parvis Centre d’Art Contemporain, France, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, and Cornerhouse, Manchester, and tours to Milton Keynes Gallery in June 2007. Panacea is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.

An exhibition catalogue for Panacea and a monograph on Zoë Walker & Neil Bromwich are to be published by John Hansard Gallery, and distributed by Cornerhouse Publications, in May 2007.

For further information please contact Pippy Houldsworth or Charlotte Perman on +44 (0)20 8969 6166 or gallery@houldsworth.co.uk

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Zoe Walker and
Neil Bromwich

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Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE1 7RU
Culture Lab forms part of an evolving network of artists, researchers and scientists 
  at Newcastle University looking at new ways of working across traditional academic