DeLorean Times Two

Things do not tend to happen by chance. Or at the least things about the DeLorean. Two consecutive events about it have been brought to our attention recently: Sean Lynch exhibition ‘DeLorean: Progress Report’, just closed recently at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, and Duncan Campbell’s documentary film ‘Make It New John‘ showing at Tramway, Glasgow till the 14th of March. Campbell’s is a co-commission by Glasgow’s Tramway in partnership with The Chisenhale Gallery, London, the Artists Film and Video Umbrella and the Model Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo.

Make it new John is made up of four fragmentary and often contrary sections. Campbell deliberately opted to end his possibly unreliable versions of events prior to the drugs sting that DeLorean was later acquitted of as his company faced financial ruin. ‘I’m not trying to be deliberately obscure,’ Campbell insists, ‘but you have to tailor what you do so you’re not dictated to by a framework. What I’m doing is more about montaging a story that was almost Shakespearian, where what’s important is what you leave out.’
The List

But as it happens this is more than just ‘putting former headline-makers back into the limelight‘. And it is very interesting to see these different approaches and how each one of them has used the DeLorean to speak about personal recurrent concerns, both framed within a historic research. I am looking forward to see Campbell’s work. Though, having listen to Sean Lynch speak about his work, his research based practice, and the context of this work, I am certain that Campbell’s work would not be able to deliver the same punch. Aw, life is tough.

‘DeLorean: Progress Report’, Sean Lynch


Sean Lynch’s photographs, installations and publications continue to investigate and bring to attention understandings and representations of history. His first solo exhibition at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery takes as a starting point the bankruptcy and subsequent aftermath of the DeLorean car factory, which operated in Dunmurry, outside Belfast, from 1981-2. A series of photographs trace a path taken by the artist throughout 2009 to seek out and find the location of the tooling once used to make the body of the car, essentially the formgivers that gave DeLorean its famous profile. Sold off and dispersed to scrapyards through the country in1984, it was rumoured that the tooling was purchased by fishermen to be used as anchors. Lynch eventually located them at the bottom of Galway Bay, where crabs and lobsters now live in the coral around the nooks and shapes that once pressed out stainless steel panels of the car’s exterior. Also, presented for the first time is ongoing work to produce sections of a DeLorean by handmade rather than industrial means.

‘Make It New John’, Duncan Campbell

For his first major solo exhibition in Scotland, the highly regarded Glasgow-based artist Duncan Campbell (born 1972, Dublin) will present his latest film piece, a co-commission by Tramway in partnership with Chisenhale Gallery, London; the Artists’ Film and Video Umbrella and theModel Arts and Niland Gallery, Sligo. The film looks back over the life of John DeLorean and the car plant he set up in Belfast. Combining archive news material with newly-filmed footage, the film considers DeLorean’s own personal rise and fall as echoed in the example of the impressively stylish but technically flawed DMC12 sports car that was produced at the factory. The commission will continue the artists’ exploration of documentary film – started in his earlier films Falls Burns Malone Fiddles (2003) and the acclaimed Bernadette (2008) – where what constitutes reality and truth in such films becomes a shifting notion.

A great video interview about the film with Campbell at the Telegraph.
And more on The List.

The Artist is the New Artist

During the last two days – 4th and 5th of February –  I had the opportunity of following Paul Lowe’s Tweetcast from Photography next, an International Conference at Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. Paul Lowe is Course Director at the Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of the Arts London, LCC.

The keynote speakers at the conference were Martin Barnes, Elizabeth Edwards, Jens Erdman Rasmussen, Joan M. Schwartz and Martin Lister.

Thanks to the magic of the hashtags (#photonext) you can now re-read the broadcast and share some very interesting points raised – Jens Erdman Rasmussen curator Danish National Museum of Photography requoted ‘museums are concentration camps for art’. You can follow the whole list of tweets tagged #photonext

I asked Paul Lowe through Twitter if he could pass on a question to Jens Erdman Rasmussen, one that troubles me:
is the curator the new artist?

Coincidentally, yesterday, while Paul Lowe was broadcasting from  Sweden, some of us MAVIS students had a field day with artist Sean Lynch.

If I have learnt anything from Sean is definitely that the Artist is the new Artist, and perhaps also the new Curator – or has it always been? At some point, we spoke about the role of the curator in the preparation of his last exhibitions. After a long and very interesting answer he asserted and resumed that ‘not much, really’ – joking then about our future as students of Visual Arts Practices on a Curatorial strand.

But the thing is, when an artist develops his or her own practice in such a methodic and persistent way as Sean Lynch does, exhausting research paths as an everyday strategy, the role of the curator in shaping the presentation of the work is already done. Is it not?

These conversations remind me of a great post by EYECURIOUS entitled, Word of the Year 2009, where the concept of curator is re-evaluated and polished.