Ikon Eastside, 183 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham
A film by Andrew Cross, featuring the music of Carl Palmer.
Ikon presents a new film by British artist Andrew Cross exploring the relationship between music and space by focusing on a much-maligned musical form: the rock drum solo. Through a process of rigorous editing, sequences of tightly framed images are constructed; Cross’ minimalist style giving rise to a consideration of the shifting nature of cultural value.
Popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s drum solos were a key feature of concerts then, combining extraordinary musical virtuosity and showmanship. The film is produced in collaboration with Carl Palmer, legendary rock star drummer of 1970s ‘supergroup’ Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who composed and performed a series of new drum solos especially for the artist.
Presented as a large-scale, surround sound, twin-screen projection, Cross’ work points up the minutae of Palmer’s performance and the absorbing relationship between drummer and drum kit. Each part explores different aspects of percussion and the inherent complexities within rhythm and sound. A solo snare drum gives way to brushes, then cymbals, followed by a sequence played with hands and felt beaters. It culminates in a final full drum kit solo.
Displayed alongside The Solo are a selection of colour photographs, from the series Hats Off to Roy Harper (2008) each showing an unassuming field that was once the location of the Knebworth Festival during the 1970s. Pictured at different times of day, the silent landscape holds memories of long summer days and rock legends. As with the film, Cross hones in on a specific moment and through intense scrutiny throws into question our relationship to places loaded with personal and cultural significance.
Cross has produced a DVD and limited edition 12” vinyl to accompany the exhibition.
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Ikon is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and Birmingham City Council.
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