Darren Banks: Evermore: WORKPLACE GATESHEAD

14 September - 19 October 2013 Gateshead

Darren Banks is interested in the relationship between film and sculpture, both formally and within popular
culture, specifically horror film. His new work examines how objects are haunted by memory and
experience. The resulting series of filmic sculptures uses digital effects to alter the objects' image,
playing with theatrical tensions between sculpture and film.

 

Evermore presents new work by Banks resulting from his ongoing interest in horror actor and sculptor
Churton Fairman. Churton Fairman (AKA Mike Raven, 1924 - 1997) began his career as a ballet dancer and
ballet photographer, then shifted to be a pioneer of blues music on pirate radio (Atlanta, Radio King and
390) where he adopted the alias 'Mike Raven'. As a horror film actor he appear in several horror films
including Crucible of Terror (1971) and Discipline of Death (1972), he also featured in 'I Monster' alongside
Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The starting point for Banks is archival footage from an unfinished
documentary about Fairman's later life as a sheep farmer and sculptor on Bodmin Moor.

 

Banks' new video works focus on a series of small carved wooden sculptures made by Fairman. Banks
has chosen to rework film rushes of the sculptures, which depict biblical scenes, or characters that Fairman
uses as a metaphor for his ideas about sexuality and faith. In these works, Banks presents multiple layers
of appropriation. The sculptor transforms the material of wood through carving until it becomes an art
object. It is then documented on film, before being re-edited by Banks into a new filmic sculpture. Taking
his cue from feature film and radio, Banks has experimented with film techniques that enable new
configurations of the sculpture. In one film a foreshortened camera shot known as the 'dolly shot'
commonly used to create suspense, shifts the perspective of the object in relation to its surroundings. In
another work a pirouette echoes Fairman's early desire to become a dancer. The jump-cut, abruptly
introduces a new seemingly unrelated image. Another film uses sound to dictate the movement of the
object. Through this process the distinction between subject and object, author and artist, sculptor and
filmmaker are merged.

 

Banks' works project aspects of Fairman's complex and multifaceted history onto his sculpted objects.
This has the effect of layering different moments of time through different themes and materials. By
reanimating documentary footage of the sculptures, Banks transforms the carvings into unformed objects
characterized by formal effects from throughout Fairman's life: balletic gestures, sound from radio and
effects from horror film. Although a generation apart, Banks and Fairman have a shared interest in
sculpture, horror film and music. Although in the conventional biography these interests appear as distinct
categories, Banks has tried to bring them together formally. By subjecting Fairman to the constraints of
contemporary art, Banks is reframing the sculpture within a current discourse. The work has both a
historical and contemporary significance.