Gallery 2 // Galeri 2:
We Ran Together

preview 9 February 2024

We are really pleased to present the second part of the season We Ran Together with new works by George H. Wale, Durre Shahwar, and Michal Iwanowski.

Each artist was invited to respond to Fishtank, a film by Richard Billingham made in 1998. It was his first film and a groundbreaking work for television and can be seen alongside the exhibition. Dispassionately through the lens of the camera, yet compassionately, it explores the landscape of family dynamics and moves between affection and familiarity to alienation and altercation.

Each of the artists has drawn on different strands of the film’s content to follow new lines of inquiry to develop new sculptural, photographic and text works. A fly on the wall, a fish in a tank. Their own families. Even while carefully working in similar territory and themes, it is clear that the specific influences and relationship mark the difference here.

George starts to look at their relationship to work, to labour - thinking about alienation from nature and natural aptitudes or skills that may be inherited from parents that we adapt to support us financially. This led to thoughts about the aesthetic language of support and their father’s work as a floor layer. Floors, underfoot, as something made, as fundamental to living, as class indicators, literal support structures. From domestic spaces of home to public spaces.

Durre brings a series of propositions and reflections. Her work crosses the boundaries between non-fiction, essay, and autofiction. In response to Billingham’s film, she reflects on her own experiences, belonging, and identity through familial language and materials. This work is developed in parallel with her research into autofiction and her Pakistani-Welsh identity and her book, Gathering: Women of Colour on Nature, which will be published later in 2024.

Michal Iwanowski continues an ongoing project, Minus The Mother, with a new series of images. He and his mother watched the Billingham film together on a visit back to Poland, and the show at g39 is concurrent with his recently opened solo exhibition, Go Home Polish, at the National Museum Wales. Minus The Mother is not an easy project - to witness, or to do - but through it Michal encourages us to think about loss and those close to us. Through the lens, in the space between countries and longer distance communication, a closeness between them is growing as the dynamic between parent and child changes.

We Ran Together will be the first project in a new, additional project space at g39 which encourages the production of new work and experimentation. It runs concurrently with the exhibition Here, at the edge, today in the main gallery space with Zara Mader, Gail Howard, Adele Vye, Sadia Pineda Hameed & Beau W Beakhouse & Phoebe Davies.


We are grateful for the support of Artangel in the development of this exhibition. Fishtank is part of The Artangel Collection, an initiative to bring outstanding film and video works, commissioned and produced by Artangel, to galleries and museums across the UK. The Artangel Collection has been developed in partnership with Tate, is generously supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Foyle Foundation and uses public funding from Arts Council England.

g39 is supported in its work by The Arts Council of Wales and this research has been supported by an Artfund Re-imagine grant. The season continues g39’s closer look at socio-economic movement and the visual arts. Socio-economic background remains a huge and largely invisible issue, with fewer defined career routes and limited security, challenges are still very present in the visual arts.