Revolver presents works by ten artists made between 1983 and 2012 in discrete spaces in the gallery in a three-part series of short exhibitions of up to four artists. The works are presented in this way so that they can be experienced as autonomous and discrete productions by the artists, but it is hoped that the format of Revolver will also encourage the generation of shifting associations across the works, between the spaces of the gallery and over the timeline of the exhibition. The project explores resonances, echoes and returns and ways that artists touch on shared approaches, formal concerns and themes to generate diverse meanings and outcomes.
In contrast to the usual operations of Matt’s Gallery where new works and projects are commissioned from artists, Revolver, curated by Matt’s Gallery Director Robin Klassnik and artist and curator Richard Grayson, focuses on work that was already in progress or already made by artists new to the gallery. Revolver is the first initiative of a series of collaborations with artists, writers and practitioners associated with Matt’s Gallery that are designed to generate a series of curatorial partnerships and discursive projects. These will not only result in projects integral to the gallery programme but will model curatorial approaches and relationships to inform and expand the gallery in its future operations.
Artists participating in Revolver are: Anna Barham, William Cobbing, Layla Curtis, Benedict Drew, Graham Gussin, Juneau Projects, Tina Keane, Andrew Kötting, Rachel Lowe, and Tai Shani.
Revolver is generously supported by The Foyle Foundation, The Henry Moore Foundation, Arts Council England, A. Bliss Specialist Mounting and Framing, Michael Dyer Associates and ArtQuarters Press.
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Anna Barham, Arena, 2011
Arena is a modular amphitheatre structure made from MDF and wood that houses a recording of the artist reading her bookReturn To Leptis Magna (45 minutes). The book is written entirely from anagrams of its title, exploring the sculptural correspondence between the fragmented architecture of the ruined Roman city and letters as the basic units of written language, each capable of constructing multiplicities of new forms. The resulting text reveals streams and webs of words, associations and meanings embedded within the phrase. The physical structure of Arena acts as sculpture, seating, plinth and stage – its shifting status highlighting the position that 'meaning' is neither singular nor fixed, but operates as a field of potential with the viewer being an active participant within its construction.
Graham Gussin, Lens, 2012
Consisting of 24 sepia toned photographs taken on location at a hotel on the Atlantic coast in Portugal.
The hotel is set close to the furthest western point of Europe, a one time geographic end of the world.
The hotel was used as the main location by Wim Wenders in 1982 when he shot 'The State of Things'. At that time it was run down and in ill repair. The first ten minutes of the film is shot in sepia tone and depicts an end of the world scenario set in an undesignated future. What we see is supposedly a remaking of the 1955 film 'Day The World Ended'.
The series of photographs revisit the hotel and its surroundings. Shot on 35mm film and printed in sepia, they extend and play on the temporal aspects of the subject. The past and the future, prophecy and reality become confused through a kind of distorting lens, the photographs acting as a time machine which looks back and forward simultaneously. The deserted images have an apocalyptic nature to them, the hotel and environs becoming ruins in a projected time.
Tai Shani, Headless/Senseless, 2011
Fantastical and cinematic, Shani's performances and films contain multilayered and self-reflexive narratives that are abstracted adaptations of films, plays and books or fictional historical dramatisations.
Deploying diverse fictional strategies, and operating in multiple temporal structures both in the real and the mediated, Shani's work revolves around scripts and texts which alternate between familiar narrative styles and structures and theoretical prose that research the agency of the simulated self and the "real" self; the immaterial lives of fictional characters beyond spectatorship, over-identification and death in the fictional space. These intricate narratives are played out by elaborately costumed large casts of archetypal and pseudo-historical characters drawn from diverse cultural mythologies in Neo-Baroque settings that reference early science fiction, Greek tragedy and various traditions of theatrical spectacle.
Headless/Senseless is a sound-tracked installation of 13 lenticular prints, the lives and fictions of two actresses Annie Paradise and Jean Heller overflow and haemorrhage into each other creating a spiralling narrative told through fractured recollections, dreams and desires.
Anna Barham is represented by Arcade, London.
Late night opening: Frieze East End Galleries night, Saturday 13 October, 12-9pm