Graham Dolphin: 'Come Together'6. Dec - 1. Feb 14 / ended Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
Part II of 'Buying Time'
'Come Together' is a newly commissioned two-channel video work that - at first glance - appears to examine the phenomenon of pop fandom. Unusually, it allows us to observe both the exertions and emotions of performers and their audience's ecstatic response simultaneously. In summer 2013, Dolphin undertook an unusual type of artist's residency: one at a large-scale music festival featuring celebrated bands who have accrued devoted fans. At the festival Dolphin was given unprecedented access to groups such as Primal Scream and Spiritualized, whose lead singers we encounter in extreme close-up with their heads six feet tall, filling the frame. We are able to scrutinize their smallest gesture, and every nuance of expression. Dolphin's camera also lingered on members of the audience, who, seen from a distance through a zoom lens, we catch unawares. We witness them in a state of rapt exaltation. We watch on as one member of the audience at a time idolises their hero-figure, who by contrast can appear messianic. The resulting paired videos are presented side by side, slowed down, and in silence, so that we pay full attention to the dynamic between artist and audience. We become party to their exchange, and to the euphoric, shared experience that unites them, albeit momentarily. Dolphin's underlying interest is in how affect is created, and where in modern life 'true' feelings can be experienced and seen. Audience and performer are consumed by the spontaneous expression of intense, 'authentic' emotions. It appears that rather than acting out a routine, the performer is staging a ritual or a rally - leading an incantation that mesmerises all who share in it, and are able to experience the force of the artist's presence and their purpose.
'Buying Time' is a project in three parts initiated by independent curator Nathalie Levi. It asks if artists can offer a truly alternative approach when the nature of today's workplace has adapted and adopted 'creative' principles. It also asks how artists can affect the world of work when the structures of employment and production are undergoing massive change. 'Buying Time' has partnered three artists with three entirely different types of small businesses. David Lisser, Graham Dolphin, and Neil Bromwich & Zoe Walker have spent 2013 working as artists 'embedded' in the commercial world, with Ray Bland / Artinthemachine.com, Stockton Weekender and Mark Butcher Consulting respectively. Each artist is presenting new work from their residency in the NGCA's project space. 'Buying Time' is supported by Arts Council England.
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