Following his first exhibition with the gallery in 2014, this new body of work further develops Kavanagh’s ongoing Calendar Series, which will eventually consist of twelve interrelated sets of works, to represent each month of the Gregorian calendar.
Through a complex combination of different media such as sculpture, collage and photo-montage, the artist has engaged with the cinematic as a privileged ground of investigation for his practice.
For March, Kavanagh has worked in situ at the prestigious Curzon Mayfair cinema, taking casts from architectural details and rubbings of surfaces of the building, reworking them in the studio. By collecting these traces, Kavanagh is taking a lasting memory and impression of the building. Traces of the tiles covering the exterior of Curzon and casts from the cinema halls’ mirrors have been employed in this new body of works.
In last year’s exhibition, October, at Gallery North, the culmination of his Baltic 39 residency, Kavanagh even cast a series of abandoned cinema screens. The work layers one cast upon another, embedding all the time, memories, echoes and residua that accompany them.
For March, Kavanagh takes this further, using this physical relationship with the architecture of Curzon to test how meaning is produced behind the screen, behind the scenes. Rather than focusing on the projected images on its surface, the artist explores the symbols and the signs implied in the material aspect of cinema, looking at how films speak to the viewer once characters, scenery and montage have been removed.
Discarding the iconic scenes within film allows Kavanagh to concentrate on the connections between objects, architecture and imagery. In Forest (2016) the artist has made rubbings from the wooden grain that is created during the casting process of the cinema’s board-formed concrete walls. In doing so, the artist has taken a trace - on paper - of the pre-existing traces of the texture impressed on the walls, researching the indexical relations between materials and image. The works which emerge from this onsite referencing carry with them not only traces of the physical space, but quite specific echoes of scale and form. From this perspective, the screen itself acts as a liminal space between the pictorial elements acting on it during a screening and its nature of mere object.
Laurence Kavanagh was born in 1973 in Liverpool. He lives and works in London. He has exhibited widely, including Gallery North and Hatton Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2016, Temple Bar, Dublin, 2012 and Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2009. In 2012 he collaborated with four choreographers, as concept director, artist and designer on Jealousy, a project based on Robbe-Grillet’s novel at the Print Room Theatre, London. In 2011 he was recipient of the Mostyn Open prize. In 2008 the Lonely House project was purchased by the Arts Council Collection, and toured the UK as part of the Transmitter/Receiver exhibition. Residencies include Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2009, the British School in Rome, 2006. He has also curated several exhibitions over the past decade. Kavanagh was the recipient of the prestigious Warwick Stafford Research Fellowship 2014/2015, a year long research fellowship based at Baltic 39 (Baltic/Northumbria University) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2015.
Curzon Mayfair, a Grade II listed building on Curzon Street, is one of London’s oldest and most prestigious art-house cinemas, showing independent and international film since it originally opened in 1934. The cinema was demolished in 1964 to make way for an office block. The new Curzon opened in April 1966 and includes a 530-seat auditorium, a 43-foot by 20-foot screen and two Royal Boxes.