Mark Wallinger @ The BALTIC, Gateshead, England

June 26, 2012


Mark Wallinger has a lengthy record of major exhibitions and accomplishments, which is no surprise when looking at the British artist's current exhibition at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England. Small rounded beach stones have always grabbed our attention with their random, unique shape and beauty. Each stone possesses it's own distinct variation of color, curvature, and texture, and in Wallinger's piece 100000000000000000 this is no less apparent. 100000000000000000 places 65,536 of these individual stones within a checkered pattern, the number 65,536 being of specific significance: two squared is four. Four squared is sixteen. Sixteen squared is 256, and finally 256 squared is 65,536, Wallinger's magic number. Using the binary pattern of a checkerboard, Wallinger places an ordered substructure to the random and unstructured collection of stones, creating a space that is both ordered and chaotic, fabricated and found.


This tension between order and chance also emerges in The Other Wall where Wallinger numbers a large quantity of bricks, and then constructs a brick wall disregarding their sequential markings. In Construction Site, a scaffold is built in alignment with the horizon in the background, depicting a structure for construction in construction, breaking down what this scaffold is for and how it is framed against this perfect horizon line in the background, meditating upon a peripheral structure in nature and how it functions against the natural order dominating the scene, why it is placed there, and what it is for. Each work in the show begins to reveal more about the workings of Wallinger's interests as they interact in the exhibition space and similarities between the artworks emerge.