The spring exhibition at The Exchange, Citadel, features two linked installations by David Blandy that explore global and personal archives.
The exhibition is formed of two contrasting immersive installations, both statements on global culture’s impact on the individual. Hercules: Rough Cut scrutinises empire, civilisation, London and language in a hypnotically rotating, mutating installation of video and the voice in the darkness. The bright pseudo-library of the Fortress of Solitude is a self-portrait made of the detritus of consumer culture, Blandy’s personal archive of popular culture that formed him now exposed for visitors to explore.
Hercules invented hip hop. Named on the basketball courts of crumbling civilisation, street lights powered block parties, merry go rounds broke the beat back to back, hop from track to track, each transition a labour, fruit from the quest for the Funkadelic and the Apache, the bongo beating out the beat, unique configurations induced visions from the oracle. It began in Africa…
Hercules: Rough Cut is formed of hundreds of video clips Blandy drew from the vast archive of global financial news footage of Bloomberg, the business and financial information news provider. He layers and amalgamates these forgotten images from the incessant stream of news media on four revolving video screens that turn in front of a large-scale projection of spinning images. Depictions of London’s evening cityscape glitter across the monitors, interchanging and twisting around images of ancient Greek temples, modern-day factories, package distribution centres and cosmetic shop shelves.
Overlaying Blandy’s archival imagery is the film’s voiceover. In a narrative inspired by an array of poetic and philosophical sources including William Blake, Thomas More, the Beat Poets and the Wu-Tang Clan, Blandy melds street slang and Homer, political commentary with funk. The narration maintains a pulsating rhythm, the mesmeric sound compounding the hypnotic spinning video. Written words accompany the exhibition’s projected images, terms such as ‘Mythos’, ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Civilisation’ cutting up the fragmented dreamlike video.
Fortress of Solitude is a ‘Soul Archive’, asking us whether we’re merely the sum of our influences. Taking its name from Superman’s headquarters, (the only place where the superhero can really be himself), the Fortress reimagines popular cultural artefacts, records, videogames, pulp novels, as vessels for self-discovery. The installation offers a place for you to thumb through Blandy’s personal collection of classic comics, groove to a fine selection of rare Funk and Soul vinyl before settling down for a session on his PS2. At listening posts you can self-select any of Blandy’s backlog of artist’s videos.
Everything you need to unpack the various meanings of Blandy’s work is offered to you to read, play, listen and experience. The work reveals a personal quest for truth and authentic experience via the cultures that have shaped him. In Blandy’s Fortress, colourful mass-produced furniture and neatly ordered shelves appear like a one-stop self-help shop; there is even an invigilator to guide you through a Guitar Hero session or help with the selection of a cult novel, album or DVD.
Hercules: Rough Cut was a Bloomberg SPACE commission and Fortress of Solitude is presented courtesy of Zabludowicz Collection.
Opening Event: The Exchange, Friday 12th February
Members only 6.30-7.30pm, all welcome 7.30-11pm
With pay bar, sushi and David Blandy DJing from 8.30pm!
FREE, no need to book.
Artist Talk The Exchange, Saturday 13th February, 11am
David Blandy, with curator Blair Todd, will lead a tour of the exhibition.
FREE, no need to book.
About the artist
David Blandy’s practice spans performance, video and installation to investigate popular culture and its relationship to the human experience. His work has featured in solo exhibitions and group shows including recently at Bloomberg SPACE, London; BFI, London Film Festival 2015; BALTIC 39, Newcastle; INIVA, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Aspex, Portsmouth; Centre d’art et photographie de Lectoure, France; ICI, Berlin; Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany; and will be part of ‘Eva International 2016: Still (The) Barbarians’, Limerick City, curated by Koyo Kouoh.
David Blandy is represented by Seventeen Gallery, London, and his films are distributed by LUX. More information about David Blandy can be found at www.davidblandy.co.uk