Part of Frieze London VIP events 2013 and programmed to coincide with the major solo exhibition Anjin 1600: Edo Wonderpark by British artist David Blandy, this in conversation with Keith Whittle explored the artists’ practice and his most recent work, ANJIN 1600 alongside previous works such as Child of The Atom.
David Blandy has established his terrain through a series of investigations into the cultural forces that inform and influence him, ranging from his love of hip hop and soul, to computer games and manga. His works slip between performance and video, reality and construct, using references sampled from the wide, disparate sources that provide his (and our own) individualist sense of self.
Blandy works with the image in the digital world, from the YouTube tutorial and music videos, to television series, anime and the narrative sections of computer games; highlighting our relationship with popular culture and investigating what makes us who we are. Within each work he deconstructs the form, placing himself as the alienated subject in a prefabricated cultural archetype. Through this process Blandy questions our relationship with the narratives that surround and shape us, to find what forms the contemporary collective unconscious.
He has created numerous recurring characters, such as the ‘Barefoot Lone Pilgrim’ and the ‘White and Black Minstrel’ which have been rendered in moving image and as action figures, comic book characters and fighters in arcade games. Through these alter-egos – constructed as composites of the artistís personality traits and characters from the popular culture with which he identifies Blandy seeks to explore the self as an anthropological subject.
His work can take the form of large scale installation such as for ‘The World After’, ‘End of the World’, ‘Hercules: Rough Cut’, ‘Anjin 1600: Edo Wonderpark’ and ‘Crossroads’, and ‘Child of the Atom’; to the single screen works of ‘Biter’ and ‘How to make a short video about extinction’. He has also collaborated on projects with Larry Achiampong for ‘Finding Fanon’ and ‘Biters’; and for ‘Out of Nothing’, a graphic novel with the illustrator Daniel Locke and scientist Dr Adam Rutherford, published by Nobrow, supported by The Wellcome Trust & Lighthouse.
In conversation presented at The Rose Lipman Building in partnership with East London arts agency, Create London
Image: David Blandy, Soul of the USA, 2004
Copyright The Artist and courtesy Seventeen Gallery