MATTHEW HOPKINS
PASSAGES
29 JANUARY– 15 FEBRUARY 2014

Gallery 9’s 2014 exhibition program begins with a solo show by Sydney artist Matthew Hopkins titled Passages. Hopkins presents a new body of paintings and a mixed media installation, both of which are based on a recorded sound work produced by the artist.

Hopkins’ recent work is focused on the relationship between visual art and sound, with the artist often using his own sound compositions as the starting point for bodies of visual work. The work for Passages follows this process, with both the paintings and mixed media installation acting as responses to a recent recording by Hopkins titled ‘Nocturnes’, which was published as a 12” vinyl LP by London based Vittelli records (http://www.vittelli.com/).

The paintings made for Passages reflect the abstracted use of processed vocal sounds employed in Hopkins’ sound compositions in several ways; figures ingest and blow through ambiguous mouth tubes, blobs and sprays of vocal material populate a table of audio equipment, listening subjects undergo mental degradation upon hearing the vocal sound, and oral apparatuses and throat forms float against sky backgrounds. These paintings chart the passage of voice that exists in Hopkins sound compositions, whereby vocalisations are projected outwards, altered through audio processing, and then returned to be heard as alien and other. These paintings do not aim to translate this invisible passage of voice into corresponding forms and colours, instead these works render the uncertain sensation of hearing this vocal sound, the force and effect of this sound upon imaginary listeners.

The mixed media installation work produced for Passages references the printed insert of ‘listening event’ texts that are packaged with the Nocturnes LP, which serve as short absurd instructions for the listener to follow. The installation functions as an environment in which these instructions have been carried out, a site where the listening event has occurred, which in turn has caused the environment itself to become grotesquely exaggerated and reconfigured. This installation features an audio set up reproduced in lumpy clay blobs plugged into candle holders which hold broken unlit candles so as to form an inoperable ‘silent sound sculpture’. This sculpture is set amongst a backdrop of numerous misshapen painted clock faces which display only the number ‘12’ in place of all other hours. And along with these stands an anthropomorphised sculptural ‘ruin’ bearing a white surrender flag and small offering. This work operates with undertones of irreverence and opposition towards Breton’s version of surreality, and in continuing on from previous work by Hopkins, takes another swipe at Dali and the Surrealist cannon.

In addition to the installation and body of paintings produced for the exhibition, Hopkins has crafted a small number of artist edition Nocturnes LPs for Passages. These contain the 12” vinyl record with printed text inserts, painted clay candle holder and candle, along with a pencil and ink work on paper all bound in linen and rope.