• A Seaward Journey

    Date posted: October 29, 2008 Author: jolanta
    British artist Sarah Beddington’s first major New York solo exhibition, Crossing, takes place at the Dumbo Arts Center (DAC). Crossing is a site-specific, mixed-media installation responding to DAC’s ship-like interior and past maritime activity of the waterfront neighborhood of Dumbo, Brooklyn. The exhibition’s premise draws on the story of the Experiment, the second ship to make a direct crossing to China from the newly independent United States in 1785. Over 200 years later, Beddington weaves an array of fragments backwards and forwards through time and space, interposing details of the historic voyage with current global realities, including trade, cultural exchange, and migration. Image

    Sarah Beddington: Crossing is on view at the Dumbo Arts Center until November 16. 

    Image
    Sarah Beddington, Crossing, 2008. Still from three-channel digital video with sound, 7:10 min. Courtesy of Dumbo Arts Center.

    British artist Sarah Beddington’s first major New York solo exhibition, Crossing, takes place at the Dumbo Arts Center (DAC). Crossing is a site-specific, mixed-media installation responding to DAC’s ship-like interior and past maritime activity of the waterfront neighborhood of Dumbo, Brooklyn. The exhibition’s premise draws on the story of the Experiment, the second ship to make a direct crossing to China from the newly independent United States in 1785. Over 200 years later, Beddington weaves an array of fragments backwards and forwards through time and space, interposing details of the historic voyage with current global realities, including trade, cultural exchange, and migration.

    Beddington’s installation, Crossing, takes the entrepreneurial 18th-century venture of Captain Dean and his nine-man crew as an initial point of departure for a journey that moves seamlessly between past and present, east and west, dreams and reality. The core of the exhibition is a three-channel video projection characteristic of Beddington’s cinematographic style—meticulous framing, sensuous imagery, and suspense reminiscent of film noir. Mixing color and black-and-white footage, digital video, still images, and Super 8mm film, the work undermines any clear distinction between past and present. A feeling of the continuous motion of a ship is juxtaposed with an evocation of the lonely, inner world of those on board, giving the work a haunting, surreal quality. The accompanying sound piece heightens the psychological tension. Beddington invites viewers to construct their own narrative using a variety of other elements, including sandblasted glass panels and an intricate 20-foot drawing in silverpoint depicting an aerial view of the Hudson River leading from Albany—where the Experiment was built—to New York and the open sea.

    As with all of Beddington’s work, Crossing examines the intersection between the social, the personal, and the political to be found at the periphery. The environment created for DAC reflects on the idea of “journey,” both actual and metaphysical. Through fractured perspectives, stolen glimpses, and a sense of parallel realities, the exhibition proposes a voyage where timelines are blurred and destinations unknown. 

    Comments are closed.