John wood and paul harrison
John Wood and Paul Harrison by Charles EscheSince they began collaborating in 1993. John Wood and Paul Harrison have accumulated a series of playful and beguiling video works which are distinguished as much by their droll sense of humour as their unerring economy of execution. Played out against a minimalist, monochrome backdrop, or within the sealed-off space of the monitor itself, each of the works involves the presence of one of the artists, either as the butt of an extended sight-gag or as the trigger for a spiralling, visually surprising conceit. This publication, which features an essay by Charles Esche, documents Wood and Harrisons work to date, including single-screen works and installations.
HISTOIRE ART John Wood Paul Harisson Madge Gill
They have been working together since Wood and Harrison create video works of minimalist performances, touching on themes of tragedy, comedy and irony. They are experiments in the physical limitations, scale and movement of the human body in relation to the surrounding environment, which has usually been constructed by the artists. This comprised twenty six television screen installation of similar short works, all under three minutes, which are looped continuously. The action is always shot from a fixed position, rendering the space in which action can take place square, flat and un-moving, and, as the title suggests, explore situations and actions in which mark-making and gravity play a large part. Each shows the artists, sometimes one, sometimes both, as the only protagonists.
As seen in their complex video works, Wood and Harrison have long been concerned with the body, characteristically employing a vocabulary that connects into the spatial and material world of contemporary dance. They engage with attributes such as trust, cause and effect, action and reaction, and the physical arena and dimensions in which movement and gesture occurs with distinctive observations surrounding the human condition. Rooted in a distillation of everyday gestures and routine, a true conversation between the visual art world of John Wood and Paul Harrison and that of the dance corps of Ballet BC emerges. The familiar is made charmingly and compellingly strange, altering our perceptions of those moments encountered as we move through the world. Support for the research and development phase was provided by the Kickstarter community in partnership with Art Basel Crowdfunding Initiative. We are grateful to the many individual donors and supporters who have made this ambitious commission possible at both the development stage and for this premiere.
These things happen Ian White. It usually goes something like this:. The everyman deadpan slapstick double-act. Then there is minimalism, action painting, performance art, comparisons with Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, DIY television shows, a nod towards MDF their construction material of choice and the occasional Ta-da! The work of John Wood and Paul Harrison does not take as its subjects the characters of popular comedy, literary duos or art history. My point, though, is that these videos are not in and of themselves even about interpretation. I am no different to those who have taken a comparative tack to describe this work.