Rebecca Lennon's first solo show at Ceri Hand draws together the found, the stolen, the forged, the made and the re-made in a series of exchanges and situations, nuanced with an often ritual, misplaced and convoluted drive to connect, act or validate.
Old photos bought by weight of the pile in markets and on eBay, a painting sent to a debt collection agency as an offering for the debt, a film clip of a man acting out a sleep disorder, perpetually shifting between the personal and inauthentic, humour and something darker.
WE ARE STUCK HERE TOGETHER - An illustration in 5 anecdotes
My Dad gave me my Mum’s passport recently as a present. It was printed in 1982, contains 32 pages and has the number 312394 on the front. On the second page the description reads Occupation: Computer Clerk, Place of Birth: Manchester, Country of Residence: England, Height: 5ft 2, Colour of Eyes: Blue, Special Peculiarities: Birth Mark on Left Leg. As a sentimental gesture, I decided to have the description tattooed on my right leg. The tattooist wrote: Join us join us join us join us.
Method Actors participate in a group relaxation exercise; propped on chairs, legs straight in front of them - they turn their heads and legs in a circular motion, letting out noises - sometimes short and loud and sometimes quiet and constant, occasionally crying. With the goal of accessing truth to authenticate their act, they unlock their ‘instruments’ (bodies), discard themselves as ‘product’ and connect with their ‘personal objects’ (memories). If an actor is distracted at any point, allowing his or her ego to get in the way of the exercise - the teacher shouts ‘Live with me!’
At a Marxism festival, we saw various SWP members and Marxists groups wearing T-shirts featuring the iconic screen-printed image of Marxist rebel Che Guevara, bought from Primark. We knew the T-shirt’s were the particular design and style of the new Primark product, because we had seen them in the shop two weeks before. Not knowing if this was a lazy gesture of Marxist solidarity or a celebration of the legacy of Guevara as an active insertion into the Capitalist system we bought some T-shirts and wore them. Later, when confronted by members of the SWP holding petitions and sign up sheets, we agreed with their principles and ran away.
In Berlin I bought a pile of old photographs from a market. On closer inspection, the photographs were all of people standing alone in fields, streets, in front of gates, fences, doors and buildings. All of the individuals had a similar awkward, rigid and unnatural pose, like they were acting out a connection to a place for the camera. I asked the man where he had got them from. He told me, with a lisp, that all of his photos were collected from houses that were emptied when people had died. I asked him how much they were, ‘a Euro for a pile’ he replied. How much is a pile? He held out his hands just slightly apart, and smiling, he said ‘this much’.
An Actor stands alone in the middle of a road, surrounded by a desolate American landscape. He mumbles to himself: I just know I have been here before, I know that I’ve been stuck here - just this one time before, you know - there’s not another road that looks like this one - like exactly like this one. This is one kind of place - like a fucked up face. The Actor howls at a hare and when it runs away he shouts ‘Where are you running to, man? We are stuck here together!’ The Actor collapses, shakes with the pre-sleep state of a narcoleptic and freezes…
RL September 2010
Exploring the reduction of individual to trace or document and the slippery line between the real and the acted out, all of the works in Rebecca Lennon's inaugural solo show at Ceri Hand Gallery are relics of some kind of nuanced exchange; between individual and institution, act and camera, feeling and gesture, entertainment and expression.
NOTES FOR EDITORS: Rebecca Lennon was born in 1981, Manchester, UK and lives and works in London. She recently graduated from the MFA Fine Art, Slade, London, 2010. Solo exhibitions include Since they got rid of time, Galerie Metro, Berlin, 2008 and group exhibitions include Making Ships in Bottles, Café Gallery Projects, London, 2010; Spasticus Artisticus, Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool, 2010; The Economy of the Gift, A Foundation, Liverpool, 2010; For Sale: Baby Shoes Never Worn, G39 Gallery, Cardiff, 2009; Open Ended Project, Curated by Maeve Rendle & Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 2009.