What is the Word
Graham Dolphin’s latest exhibition is comprised of an expansive mural and a series of careful, figurative pencil drawings.
The last poem produced by Samuel Beckett is titled Comment Dire, which can be translated as What is the word. The original document is now archived and shows text in French, staggered down the page, interspersed with revisions. Dolphin has used this document as the starting point for a cycle of drawings that describes papers belonging to artists, novelists, poets and song-writers. The selected images range from Frieda Kahlo’s final journal entry, the faxed sheaf of Charles Bukowski's last poem to the cover of Kurt Cobain’s songwriting book. Each item is depicted as creased, torn and personal, not a drawing of the mediated cultural output but of the personal ephemera.
The understated drawings are opposed by a painting that covers the entire rear wall of the gallery. This work describes a mural found in Wellington, New Zealand dedicated to the Joy Division singer and song-writer, Ian Curtis. The two opposing elements in the show both exploit our involvement and attachments with the producers of cultural goods, which go beyond what might be considered rational or reasonable. Dolphin’s practice has been a continued investigation into these emotional links to cultural output, and further than that, his own output has sought to redirect our attachments and hijack perceived cultural weight for its own end.
Recent solo exhibitions by Graham Dolphin include Regina, Moscow, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, Växjö Konsthall, Sweden and he has recently participated in institutional group exhibits at Kiasma Art Museum, Helsinki, Turner Contemporary, Margate and the Dublin Contemporary, Dublin.