Saturday, September 22, 2007

Matt Stokes: 'Long After Tonight' Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago, USA

Matt Stokes
Long After Tonight
Exhibition Dates: September 7 – October 26, 2007
Opening Reception: September 7, 5-8 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10-6; Saturday, 11-5

Kavi Gupta Gallery is pleased to present our first solo exhibition by British artist Matt Stokes whose work is marked by an ongoing interest in cultural movements associated with underground music scenes and the uncanny way in which these events contribute to a collective social experience. The exhibition will include the award winning film Long After Tonight which earned Stokes the 2006 Beck's Futures Prize, accompanied by production photographs, film stills, and portraits of participants from the film.

Long After Tonight documents a re-creation of a Northern Soul night staged at St Salvador's Church in Dundee, Scotland – parts of which housed some of the city's first dance events of this kind during the early 1970's. Northern Soul is a term used to describe the dislocation of obscure up-tempo African-American soul music to the north of England during the sixties and seventies. ‘Northern’ nights became extremely popular events where fans gathered in discreet communal places and dance halls for all-night dance sessions. The eclectic way of dancing that emerged took cues from traditional folk to outrageous moves suggestive of forms of proto-break dancing, featuring spins, flips, and back drops. Stokes invited original participants of this scene to dance to tracks from the genre, but transposed the event to within the nave’s Gothic interior. The mix of real time and slowed down rhythm and movement of the dancers, their flowing hair, endlessly spinning skirts and loose undulating clothing, intermingle with the gilded ornate religious imagery of the church, heightening the connection between the definition of a shared religious experience with an overt feeling of nostalgia.

Accompanying the film, several photographs from Long After Tonight will be included in the exhibition. Some of the images are direct film stills that juxtapose the ornate Christian iconography within the church interior with a glistening shirtless body. Other photographs reveal a behind the scenes look at the making of the film including a wide-angled shot of the dramatically lit church interior and stark portraits taken of the participants during their warm-up session revealing the sincere personalities and countenance of these individuals.

Matt Stokes (b. 1973 lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne, England) was the 2006 recipient of the Beck’s Futures Prize. Recent solo exhibitions include shows at espace d’arts contemporains, Geneva; ZieherSmith, NY; Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and a solo project with Workplace Gallery at the NADA Art Fair, Miami in 2006. Stokes has also been included in numerous group exhibitions including shows at MuHKA, Antwerp; Witte de With, Rotterdam; ICA, London; PS1 MOMA, NY; Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee; and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead.

Lost in the Rhythm’, a monograph representing Stokes’ recent projects has just been co-published by Collective Gallery, Edinburgh and Art Editions North.