I’m Not Concerned About The Specific Circles
This exhibition presents three new works by Matt Denniss, an artist based in Manchester, UK. In different ways and through different approaches, these works address ideas around distance, journeys and perception of time.
Untitled (2018) is a drawing made using oil bar on paper. It depicts an exposed rock face on the side of a mountain in an abandoned granite quarry in Trefor, Wales, UK. Material had been extracted from the mountain over a period of many years revealing the fractured, foliated rock strata within. Millions of years of geological activity are laid bare, and in turn, will quite possibly be evident for many millennia in the future. The treatment of the subject both in terms of the quick, expressive use of oil bar and the tight cropping of the image blurs this context. The drawing starts to lose sense of scale; perhaps starting to look like something else -massive mountain ranges seen from the air or waves on the sea.
The moving image work I’m Not Concerned About The Specific Circles (2018) shows a sequence of photographs taken of book pages that depict rock formations, diagrams of ancient pyramids, sand dune systems and maps. They are combined with voice over and subtitles consisting of text fragments, appropriated from the H.P. Lovecraft short story The Lost City. The ostensibly unconnected visuals and text make occasional associations, and the two start to form a narrative logic. The piece is a meditation on intersections between human activity and geological time as well as reflecting the artists’ interest in chance, appropriation and bricolage.
Denniss has a long-running interest in creating simple, ad-hoc or improvised devices to make his work. He often incorporates off-the-shelf components modified or coerced to perform a particular task. In The Journey (2018), a dictaphone connected to a contact microphone was placed inside a plywood box and sent by courier from Manchester, UK to Seoul. The dictaphone recorded for 51 hours until its batteries eventually ran out. The microphone picked up every sound made when the box was handled, knocked and dropped as well as some ambient noise. The box recorded its long journey, capturing these ephemeral, fleeting traces of sound, and bearing bureaucratic scribblings and stickers, applied as it made its way. At Keep In Touch, the plywood box containing the recording equipment is displayed on a shelf, the dictaphone playing back its journey through a speaker. It explores the artists’ interest in temporality, chance and spontaneity.
Matt Denniss was born in Lancashire, UK in 1984. He has a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College and has exhibited his work across the UK and internationally. His diverse practice incorporates moving image, drawing, installation and sound. He explores interests in cultural ideas, personal history, journeys and architecture as well as producing meditations on time, landscape and memory. He lives and works in Manchester, UK.