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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William Cobbing, Demolition, 2004
The Kiss, 2004
William Cobbing is an artist who works across performance, sculpture, video and installation:
Heads feature frequently in these performances but never as faces. Instead, individual identity is shrouded by a crazed and mucky parallel of the pixilation that newsroom editors employ in controversial situations to 'protect' the speaker from personal recognition. The shifting alluvial mask that obscures two heads in The Kiss, Cobbing's film of the eponymous action, materialises the look of love into a tactile mass, a cloggy marl that hands knead, model, smear and spread noisily, glutinously and messily.
— Martin Holman, Miser & Now,
It shouldn't happen to a dream, Issue 11, 2007
Benedict Drew, The Persuaders, 2011
Benedict Drew combines sculpture, moving image and sound to make work that explores the expressions and logic of media and its imagery and operations and the intersections of the physical and digital worlds.
You'll be watched, and in some way controlled.
You might want to resist this, but no matter how, you'll find yourself reacting.
You'll respond to visual and sonic elements that hold a material form, and you will reciprocate the activity of those technological devices awaiting you.
Hearing the voices of data streams.
This is a 21st century fable of transition in which the old and the new are just one thing. You'll be told a story about the newness of that which is discarded, and about the physicality of that which is disembodied. You'll enter a place where the obsolete is enhanced and the symbolic meaning becomes animate.
This will be a journey of discovery during which you'll find out about the language of the technological thing; a language that encompasses signs, symbols and signals, and, most of all, embraces the realm of the senses. Deciphering this language means to access the inner world of the device, and perhaps its reasons, in connection to your own world, the outer world.
You'll be interacting with techno-souls, and although you might feel controlled, you might also want to believe in the possibility of a reversal if you succeed in grasping their linguistic codes.
Things consist of tensions, forces, hidden powers, all being constantly exchanged.
This fable might not be a fiction after all, but a story of the 21stcentury. It might be a story about a journey through the acting technological object and another way to look at its reality: the material form, the being a means to an end which affects but also has many underlying causes. It might not be about enchanted techno-souls, but souls in the sense of manifestations, a display of a series of tensions that are very often disembodied because of our failure to notice.
Excerpt taken from exhibition text by Marialaura Ghidini forThe Persuaders at CIRCA Projects, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011.
Tina Keane, Demolition/Escape, 1983
Tina Keane has been making work exploring moving image technology and mixed media practice to reveal the operations and poetries of memory and constructions of gender since the late seventies.
...a large brightly coloured model steam engine...shunts jauntily back and forth across the floor on a wide-gauge, twelve section track; a yellow indicator lights up as it moves forward, a red as it reverses. Behind and to the right of the track is a vertical column of six video monitors placed alternately right side up and upside down, so that the screens zigzag upward in a stepwise fashion. The monitors play a pre-recorded performance of the artist as she crawls along the floor, grasps a rope ladder and hauls herself up. The zigzagging of the monitors, the diagonals of the ladder and its shadow snaking across the screens, and the vertiginous shots of the artist clinging to this flimsy structure combine to create a queasy feeling of suspense and instability. The third part of the installation, which completes a three dimensional triangle, is a line of blue neon numbers from nine to one (a sliding scale or countdown), which diagonally ascends the wall from behind and the left of the track. The blue haze of the neon and the red light of the train are reflected by the blue and red hues of the video performance, a painterly use of colour and different light qualities which endows the work's sculptural physicality with physical presence.
— Jean Fisher, Demolition/Escape, Art Forum, May 1983
Demolition/Escape (1983) is presented with the generous support of LUX - Artists' Moving Image, London.
Rachel Lowe, Revolving Woman, 2008
Rachel Lowe's practice engages with the physicality of the moving image, looking at the building blocks of trace and memory. She presents the works in such a way that the viewer is made acutely aware of constituent operations of the image that they perceive, how it is generated by a series of pulses of light in a matrix of darkness that leave ghosts upon the retina so that a series of images combine to generate the simulacrum of movement.
Her video installation Revolving Woman uses footage of a mannequin the artist shot on analogue video tape in a shopping mall in Brazil. The grainy recording of the figure's slow rotation in space in an echoing bubble of ambient sound is interrupted and choreographed with the interjection of geometric forms, hard-edged on the picture plane of the screen. These flash up almost too fast for the eye to easily register and exist as much as a startled memory as immediate perception, so producing a complex choreography of flicker, of light and darkness, the occasional flash of colour in time, and a tension between the illusionistic depth of the photographic registration of the figure and the flatness of the wall upon which the image is projected, returning us to an engagement with the elemental constituents of the projected image.