Blowup @ Bonhoga Gallery

by Deborah Leggate -

After the enormous success of The Illustrators - Julia Donaldson's exhibition of children's book illustration that has seen record numbers of visitors at Bonhoga over the last month, comes something equally fun but very, very different!

Blowup is an interactive installation, designed for choreographed performances and public interaction, created by visual artist Simon Biggs and dance artist Sue Hawksley. 

The work consists of two large video projections in which footage of the performers or viewers is manipulated in real-time. These images are cut up, redistributed and distorted by the software so that parts of the body are projected larger or smaller than others depending on how fast they are moving.

It offers a fascinating way of exploring the body and its movement within a defined space and draws on the traditions of self representation in art history. By interacting with the work the viewer becomes the spectator, the subject and the creator. 

The exhibition will open on the evening of Friday 30th September with a rolling performance in the gallery space by Sue Hawksley and Freya Jeffs between 5 and 7pm. Both are highly acclaimed dancers who have worked extensively, for companies including Rambert Dance Company, English National Ballet and Scottish Ballet. Everyone is welcome.

Sue Hawksley will also be running three separate workshops in the gallery space, on Saturday 1st, Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd October from 5.00 pm – 7.30 pm. These are open to all and are free, although spaces are limited to six per session and so advance booking is essential (Shetland Box Office on 01595 745555 or

Jane Matthews of Shetland Arts said, "with this work we may be challenging people's preconceptions of what art is but we aim to offer the broadest range of creative experiences and we are delighted to be staging something that is so engaging and fun while at the same time exploring valuable conceptual issues. 

"We urge everyone to come and play within the space. We are happy to accommodate dance groups, from line dancers to traditional dancers, toddlers to dodderers to explore how the work accentuates their style."

Blowup was first exhibited in Alt-w: New Directions in Scottish Digital Culture at CCA 

Glasgow in 2008 using a single projection but is being recreated in Shetland as a double projection. Dance artist Sue Hawksley said, "Its really exciting to take Blowup from the metropolis of Glasgow to the remote setting of Shetland, extending the potential and scope of the work."

The show will be complemented in the lower gallery by an exhibition of vibrant new watercolours from local artist Peter Davis and a collection of contemporary objects designed and made by eight Shetland-based designers and makers.