Great North Run inspires moving image art, pop-up sculptural installations and animation

Layla Curtis's GNR artwork.
Layla Curtis's GNR artwork.

A north east firm has commissioned artists to work across a range of genres and disciplines to create art inspired by the Great North Run.

The arts foundation, partnered with The Great Run Company, has been celebrating the 11th year of the GNR with a host of artwork.

The company annually commissions work which have taken many forms from a series of colourful portraits to writing and poetry commissions as well as the annual Moving Image Commission, which gives a chosen artist the opportunity to create films that are informed by the run and the runners themselves.

This year, the annual Moving Image Commission was awarded to artist Layla Curtis.

Her work, already featuring in collections including the Tate Collection, and the Government Art Collection, is exhibited widely and her series of short films for Great North Run Culture opened at The Gallery at the Tyneside Cinema on Thursday.

The multiscreen installation was filmed entirely usingthermal imaging cameras at last year’s Great North Run, entitled Heatscapes the series of short films range in length from one minute to six minutes and trace the race participants’ journeys across Newcastle, Gateshead and South Shields.

The cameras make visible the normally invisible glowing heat generated by the runners’ bodies during their training, warm up and the race itself, and reveal the temporary heat prints transferred from the runners onto the urban fabric as they move through the city.

And this year, as some 57,000 runners make new, invisible heat prints across the 13.1 mile route they will be in the company of a pop-up art installation entitled Onward, Together As, One.

The sculptural installation has been devised and developed by Fine Art graduates Hope Stebbing and Oliver Perry as part of a Great North Run Culture partnership with Northumbria University.

It is designed to create a visual impact on the landscape and will certainly do that as large sculpted letters spelling ‘onward’ ‘together’ and ‘as one’ will be shown in three specific locations around the route of the run.

Appearing on the morning of Sunday, September 13, and disappearing with the 57,000 runners after the race, the artists’ have taken the idea of over 50,000 individuals moving through the course as though they were one.