Oh Wicked Flesh! 2013
Video Installation, publication, and performance events
Full running time: 20 min
Viewing copy on request
Drawing on his everyday encounters with people, places and animals in the course of his stay, Ryan translates his experiences of them into an assemblage of disparate and often obscure references. Interwoven through film, selected objects, collaged posters and wallpapered imagery, what at first seems a baffling collage of random observations begins to reveal visual links and recurring lines of thought. Blotches, stains and blemishes act as motifs for external manifestations of the inner workings of the mind and body, whilst snippets of staged scenarios and selected texts signal the significance of autobiographical content. Peppered with hints of religious influence and moments loaded with ecstatic potential, the overarching theme of the work is culture in its broadest sense, and the role and impact of the creative act within it.
The entrance to Ryan’s installation is through a notional stone arch, a reproduction of Henry Moore’s newly restored sculpture from Kensington Gardens wallpapered around the door. From this first encounter with the work, viewers are presented with a mildly comic blend of high and low culture, while the act of transition from exterior to interior is heightened by the dark and mottled environment into which they proceed. A Henry Moore sculpture is again the opening, as well as closing, gambit in a film projected into the corner of the space. One of many references to circularity evident throughout the installation, more importantly here the Moore symbolizes the potential of culture to divide as well as unite. Located on the Branden Housing Estate, not far from the South London Gallery, this highly prized sculpture, having originally been sited on an urban council estate for the residents’ enjoyment, is now barricaded into a rusting corrugated iron structure for protection against theft, barely visible except through gaps in the unsightly metal shed in which it now resides.
Text from press release by Margot Heller
Publication and performance events with Joseph Noonan Ganley, Sam Keogh, Nina Wakeford, Hannah Black, Linda Stupart, Susan Conte and Ian White
Documentation courtesy of South London Gallery