For The Sake Of The Image

Suki Chan brings together artists working across vastly different mediums in order to explore the relationship between sound and the moving image

Still from Interval, Suki Chan
“How does what we see influence the way we experience what we hear and vice versa?”

This is the question that For The Sake Of The Image – the next instalment in the Jerwood Visual Arts Encounters series – explores, musing on the powerful relationship between the moving image and sound. Across a wide variety of mediums, it examines not only how they might accompany one another, but also how the force of one multiplies the power of the other. There is some amazing work on show from the artists Asnat Austerlitz, Richard Bevan, Juan Fontanive, Paul O’Kane, Mark Raidpere and Dan Walwin. The show is curated by Suki Chan, and is her first exhibition as curator. Her recent solo shows include Sleep Walk Sleep Talk, a major video installation commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in 2009, and Interval II, commissioned by The Chinese Arts Centre in 2008.

Most recently, Chan was selected as one of six young British artists by Charles Saatchi to take part in the BBC’s School of Saatchi.  Suki graduated from Goldsmiths in 1999 and completed an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art n 2008. Dazed Digital listened intently to what she and some of the other artists had to say about the multi-sensory theme.

Suki Chan:
“Sound is a fascinating but elusive subject. It's not something that gets talked about much, apart from within the discourse of films – in the context of the cinema rather than an art gallery. There is an inherent hierarchy between the visual and the aural, and I wanted to curate a show that addresses both form and content in a different way. It's quite difficult to examine the role of something that is largely invisible but emotionally felt. It's also much easier to talk about visual manipulations than aural ones. I'm interested in the way that works of art gets discussed, it much easier to point at the content of the visual than the form and content of the aural.”

Richard Bevan:
"Sound is always something I consider when making a film but mostly this results in a silent film with sound being provided by the mechanism of the projector or another factor in the environment. I do feel sometimes that sounds are included in video works without much consideration; the sound is there just because the video camera has a bad microphone built in. What’s even worse is when people include generic arty soundtracks to their videos. If I was to choose someone who I really thought explored the relationship between the two it would be Jean Luc Godard, there's parts in Le Mepris where the amazing music drowns out the dialogue and I always feel jealous every time I see and hear it."

Paul O’Kane:
“Primarily, I just didn't think of this film in any way sonically.  My first and deepest 'cut' as an artist was as a photographer and so I approach film a bit like a photographer, considering the value to be found within a singular image, and sound just hasn't become part of my vocabulary yet as a 'visual artist'.  To be confronted with a silent film today is to be asked to consider just what is an image? How do images 'talk' without any supplementary language? And these are some of the most beguiling questions I can presently think of, questions that Suki's show has helped me to appreciate.”

Dan Walwin:
“The video work Inconceivable, Inevitable, which I am showing as part of the show at Jerwood Space, contains sound and image, both of which are powered through a generator. In pitch black one can only hear people struggling with operating the generator- then when it finally manages to start up, an image simultaneously appears which provides a sporadic view of two figures, one of which is operating the generator. In this way, the source of both the sound of the light and sound are fleetingly revealed.”

For The Sake Of The Image opens on March 3 and runs till April 1, 2010 at Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London, SE1 0LN
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