Graham Dolphin: Gnossiennes (Durham)

Gala Gallery
Friday 1st July - Sunday 4th September 2022

Erik Satie’s six works, Gnossienne, written in the late 19th century, are composed in free time, with no time signatures given, just descriptions for the musician to interpret. The name ‘Gnossienne’ was coined by Satie to describe this new form of tempo and freedom for the performer. These hugely influential works have become commonplace through their use in film, television and telephone on-hold music and often sited as the first ambient musical works.

Dolphin’s film depicts an elongated piano keyboard across two monitors with each of the six Satie compositions playing at once. As with much of Dolphin’s previous work, the presentation of the familiar repeated or layered allows the work to be seen and heard anew. Previous works have seen the artist writing out the complete lyrics of musicians in minuscule handwritten script, a series of faithfully recreated fan memorials to popular icons and the use of fashion magazines as sculptural objects.

Gnossiennes is a collaboration between NGCA, Durham University, Foundation Press, Sunderland and John Snijders. This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Photos: Colin Davison
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