Music hall situations

Century gallery
Cremer Street, London, E2 8HD
Apr 9 – 19, 2003
An exhibition of arrow installations.
Using scenarios gleaned from Music hall lyrics and pros I used my Number banners to explore a local historical feature in this part of East London.

The Century gallery exhibition was an exhibition of coloured arrows accompanied by text.
Arrows mapped out the movement and actions of scenarios described in old music hall songs. As situations, such as going up in a balloon, we described in a song, the arrows illustrated the movement and attitude of people and characters.
The overall effect was to create a feeling of action and dynamism that was described in the songs.

See images from the exhibition

The four music hall songs
I chose two music hall songs: “Up in a balloon” and “The Valet”.

Artist’s statement
Paul Doeman is a London-based artist, whose artwork is both urban and conceptual in style. Paul creates work in all media, including two and three dimensions; art and its creation can be seen as the use and application of tools. It is possible for the tool to become the subject art, and, it with this in mind, Paul uses situations, scenarios and stories to imbue life into tool-like art objects.

Calling on various themes for the subject of his work, which is often tool-like and practical in both purpose and appearance, Paul has exhibited at numerous solo and joint exhibitions. ‘Number Banners’ have frequently become the subject of area-specific installations at art galleries throughout England; this is also true of the Century gallery show.

See images from teh exhibition
See images from the exhibition.

Century gallery exhibition: “Music hall situations”
Using scenarios gleaned from Music hall lyrics and pros, Paul has again used Number banners to explore a localised feature.
The history of Music hall has strong ties with the area of East London where the Century gallery is situated.

Before the popularity of TV, Radio and the growth of the WWW, Music hall was one of the ways in which East Londoners relaxed and enjoyed themselves; popular Music hall songs were the pop music of their day.
Applying Number banners to Music hall scenarios illustrates, and takes literally the words of the entertainment and assumes these things really happened, or at least, what happens when Number banners are used as a proxy on behalf of the art viewer and the artist.
If there is an art form to which Britain can justly and proudly claim to have given birth, it is the music hall.

“A living entity of boundless vitality, it was a child of dubious parentage, whose father was the drawing-room ballad – the soirée motto song – the nationalistic air, and whose mother was the folk tune – the raucous carouse – the tender love song. This enfant terrible had all the disadvantages of being born on the wrong side of the blanket, yet despite this, and perhaps even because of this, it thrived upon sentiments of every stratum of society in an age when Britain was awakening to the realization of Empire. The infant music hall had but one watchword – ‘flamboyance’ – fired by an innocent, and as yet uninhibited, passion.”

Endurance records

Paddy Doyle holds world records for dozens of fitness and endurance records.

An installation of number banners and arrows at Banana gallery Birmingham.
23rd Jan’ – 19th February 2002.

I was invited to do a show in Digbeth, Birmingham at the Banana gallery. I chose to display some number banners in an installation which described some of the endurance records set by a local celebrity Paddy Doyle.

Some semblance of the endurance record rules for push-ups (two hands, one hand), back pack carrying, Samson’s chair and Brick carrying were used with Number banners to describe Paddy’s feats of strength.

Click on a thumbnail to see images from the exhibition.

Number banners are held upright, the official Guinness rules for each record attempt were written using a purpose-built font called Stencil Letters. The style of this font attempts emphasise the practical nature of the banners as tools.

Cardboard arrows accompany both the written rules and the banners; an added dynamism, allowing the situation to have a closer relation to the record breaking attempts of athletes like Paddy Doyle and the rules he had to obey.

Number Banners & Diagrammatic Number Banners @ VOID

Postcard advertisement from the Number banners and dia' banners exhibition at the Void gallery.
Postcard advertisement from the Number banners and dia' banners exhibition at the Void gallery.

Number banner situations and diagrammatic number banners
VOID gallery Hackney, London.
August 1999
511 Hackney Road, London E2 9ED

The Exhibition provided a first chance for Number Banners to be displayed in a public art gallery and consisted of several number banners, number banner arrows, Diagrammatic Number Banners and 2 number banner situations.

Figure-of-eight arrows on wall, painted white, ready for objects to be placed on or near them.
Figure-of-eight arrows on wall, painted white, ready for objects to be placed on or near them.

10 interlocking arrows complete a figure-of-eight eternal cycle. When this dynamic arrow sculpture is placed on the floor more than one Number banner can be put onto or near the device to create a progression or a single movement for the Banners.
At Void Contemporary Art Space figure-of-Eight arrows were placed on the wall, but displayed without number banners this creation can stand on its own; exhibited as an item rather than in action.

Figure-of-eight text assisted this arrow set-up, it was displayed along-side the art piece and written in the stencil letter font >>

This work – like other number banner installations – describes dynamic movements and other dynamic qualities of the number banners. Their purpose is to be used for experiments in time and space; examining the first four physical dimensions: Time, length, breadth and height. It is important that the Number Banners are seen as having individual personalities in their own right as their ‘value’ affects the way that they act on the arrow set-up.

In the case of Figure-of-eight arrows the ten arrows can be seen as a reflection of the ten Number banners this is unusual as not all arrow set-ups contain ten arrows. This arrow set-up looks similar to a Scalextric track. In the child’s car game cars race around a track that has metal slots that conduct electricity to toy cars. Although with Scalextric the user determines the speed of movement for the cars, Figure-of-eight-arrow set-up allows the Number banners to travel without user assistance, the arrow set-up infers the Banners movement.

Number banner number 2
Number banner number 2

Twist arrow
In this situation the number banner spins, it needs to be imagined that the floor is not physically present. The banner is travelling in the direction of the pointed arrow.
This arrow really affects the appearance and so the personality of the number banner that is placed within it.

This is another example of the partnership between number banners and the cardboard directive creations.
Cardboard arrows give number banners direction and purpose, these cardboard circles offer islands for number banners to jump to.
Again, these cardboard constructions give a potential dynamism to the otherwise static banners. Number banner 5 was placed on the edge of one of the circles and the rest was left up to the viewer.

Pictures from the VOID exhibition

Animate objects

Animate objects exhibition poster.
Poster advertising the animate objects exhibition

Animate objects was an exhibition in ’98 that consisted of three sets of three groups of diagrammatic-style drawings, each group of drawings was organized into a progressively moving set of frames then filmed on to Super 8 film. Sound was included in the installation – the noise of each tool working, as the film played the sound started.

The installation grew from a series of drawings of tools, a subject that I’ve found myself interested in throughout the time I’ve been creating art.

Animated drawings
These drawings needed a semi-practical purpose. I wanted to use the process of drawing to describe the objects, but I also wanted to describe the complete physical object in as complete a way as possible, not only its physical appearance but its movement, its gait.

Projectors and their stands
Projectors, their stands and Super 8 film reel supports. Each projector projected a different angle of an object, creating an orthographic projection.

Orthographic projection.
Three Tools were drawn in this way – side views, Front views and Top views (the number of drawn views varied according to the size of the tool), for example; G-clamp sides view 24 cells and G-clamp 44 cells. The images were drawn on to heavy tracing paper and then stuck on to paper sheets with Selotape. This technique produced a very rough and ready effect, the resulting sheet seemed more like an object than a set of drawings. These drawings were used to create Animate Objects – The Super8 film installation.

Orthographic projection
The 3 projectors project different angles of the drawings which describe themovement of the tool as it functioned.

This was a solo exhibition in North London. 3 sets of 3 projectors were organised in such a way as to create 3 installations of animated orthographic projection with sound effects which were appropriate to each tool’s function.
The image to the right represents three of the projections of the animated drawings of three tools (g-clamp, hand drill and shoe stretcher).

The three views were side view, top view and front view. Each projector projected a single animated view of each of the tools via looped lengths of Super 8 film, each of the films was accompanied by the sound of each of the tools working; creating a cacophony of squeaking sounds

Some slides from the film used to create the Animate Objects projections.
Some slides from the film used to create the Animate Objects projections.

Animation exhibition cells
These are three examples of cells used to create animations of the Animate objects exhibition.
The cells were hand drawn using black felt tip pens on thick tracing paper. The cells were exhibited at the show, they were sellotaped to large sheets of paper and secured to the walls.

See an example of the orthographic projection set-up here >>

G-clamp orthographic projection animation

Animated g-clamp installation
The animated g-clamp installation comprised of three seperate animations filmed and projected using Super 8 cameras and projectors, a combination of sound and vision.

The purpose of the installation was to try and recreate the object in three dimensions: side, front and top views. With the addition of sound of the g-clamp turning – a squeaking noise – the otherwise inanimate object came to life.

G-clamp. Top view animation.
g-clamp. side view animation.
G-clamp. Front view animation.