About suffering, they were never wrong

This is a historic exhibition. It is no longer available to visit and this page is only retained as a record of the previous event. For current and future exhibitions, visit our What's On page.

Curating Art MA

A person leans into a inflatable tube


Until 15 May 2024 (historic exhibition)


Led by students from the MA Curating Art course at Newcastle University, three related exhibitions will evolve in this space between February and May 2024. The exhibitions pair historic works from the Hatton Collection with works by contemporary artists.

#1: Ergin Çavuşoğlu / Palma Giovane
9 February – 28 February

#2: “The Old Masters, how well they knew…”
2 March – 20 March       

#3: “About suffering, they were never wrong…”
23 March –15 May            

The Hatton’s permanent collection includes modern and historic works of international importance, as well as works by artists connected to the university’s Fine Art department. It originated as a teaching collection, with paintings collected as examples art students could copy. Although few art students use it for this purpose today, this exhibition highlights another way the collection is used for teaching the art of exhibition making.

The starting point for this project was W.H. Auden's poem, Musee des Beaux Arts. Written after he encountered Pieter Breughel’s The Fall of Icarus at the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, the poem reflects Auden’s amazement that Breughel painted the ‘miracle’ of a boy flying across the sky and falling to his death as if it were an insignificant event. In the painting, Icarus is in the background, ignored by the other figures. The poem begins:

About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters: how well they understood

Its human position; how it takes place

While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along

This space invites us to consider how artists create different emotional worlds across time and space. As the academic Raymond Williams once said, we occupy different ‘structures of feeling’, but we have the potential to imagine what others might feel, and how they live within a particular emotional landscape.

Image: Neil Bromwich and Zoe Walker (2005) ‘Love Cannon – Head In’. Copyright and courtesy the artists. Photo credit: Colin Gray.”