'When there is no more money left, the film will be finished'
29 November 2008 - 7 February 2008
Tuesday to Saturday from 2 to 7 pm and by appointment
Opening Saturday 29 November 2008 5-8 pm
Erna Hecey Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by John Murphy.
Film (film), sb. [OE. filmen membrane = OFris. filmene skin :- WGmc. *filminja, ult. f. *fellam FELL sb.1 ] 1. A membrane - 1764. 2. A thin pellicule or lamina of any material 1577. 3. Photogr. A thin pellicule or coating of collodion, gelatin, etc., spread on photographic paper or plates, or used by itself instead of a plate 1845. 4. A morbid growth upon the eye. Also fig. 1601. b. A celluloid roll of film used for a cinema picture 1897. c. A cinema performance. 5. transf. A slight veil of haze, mist, or the like. lit. and fig. 1833. 6. A fine thread or filament 1592. 7. Comb., as f. actress, -camera, star.
2. An icy gale . . o'er the pool Breathes a blue f. THOMSON. 4. He from thick films shall purge the visual ray POPE. Phr. The f. of death. 6. When . . floating films envelope every thorn COWPER.
André Bazin argued in one of his essays for a "mixed" cinema, that is, for a cinema that would be enriched by its borrowings from the other arts. Alain Badiou, taking up and radicalizing this thesis, describes cinema as "an impure art," "the 'plus-one' of the arts, both parasitic and inconsistent." For Badiou cinema is an inherently hybrid medium, taking from theater, literature, music, painting, and so on, without having a 'proper' domain. "Cinema is the seventh art in a very particular sense. It does not add itself to the other six while remaining on the same level as them. Rather, its implies them [...] It operates on the other arts, using them as its starting point, in a movement that subtracts them from themselves." (Handbook of Inaesthetics transl. Alberto Toscano, pp. 83, 79). What is unique to cinema is the way that it mobilizes the different arts so that they become contaminated with one another, thus creating an impure, heterogeneous space: a supplement or a 'plus-one', rather than a Gesamtkunstwerk-style synthesis. Likewise, Murphy's exhibition, making use of multiple cinematic references, plays with the hybrid, supplementary nature of film, translating its intrinsically mixed character back into the domain of visual art.
Preoccupied with resonances betweens the different realms of the senses, John Murphy's oeuvre is especially concerned with the relationship between vision, representation and words. Murphy's art historical lineage can be traced through a European Symbolist-based conceptual tradition descending from Mallarmé and Jarry through to Duchamp, Magritte and Broodthaers. His works often evoke the themes of longing, absence and sexuality, and are characterized by their exquisite refinement and precision. Speaking of Murphy's paintings, critic Michael Newman has written, "They are concerned with limits--the limits of both art and life--in a way which, taken seriously, becomes disturbing. Art becomes the place where solitude, unfulfillable desire and death can no longer be forgotten."
John Murphy was born in 1945 in England. His recent solo exhibitions include ... the stench of shit ..., Erna Hecey Gallery, Brussels (2007) Between the Acts, Lisson Gallery, London (2006), Up or Down it's All the Same: in Gent or Venice, Het Kabinet, Gent (2005), And Things Throw Light on Things, Ikon Gallery Barber Institute, Birmingham (2004-2005), Of Voyages, Galerie Erna Hecey, Luxembourg (2003), and The Way Up and the Way Down, Southampton City Art Gallery and Museum, Southampton (1999). He works and lives in London.
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