Amen Brother

28 May – 30 July 2011



Featuring work by David Blandy, David Raymond Conroy, Steven Dickie, Sara Mackillop, Rachel Reupke, Tom Smith and Jack Strange. Curated by Tim Dixon

Interrogating themes of appropriation, mediation and sampling within contemporary art practice, the exhibition takes its title from a piece of music recorded by soul band, The Winstons in 1969.

The 5-second, 4-bar drum breakdown in the middle of the track has become arguably the most sampled piece of music of all time. Rising to prominence through the DIY underground musical movements of the hip hop, rave and jungle scenes of the 1980s and ’90s, the Amen Break, in its sped up, slowed down, cut up, reassembled and re-recorded forms went on to appear in places as disparate as NWA’s Straight Outta Compton and the theme tune to Futurama. Sampled and re-sampled since the 80s, the ubiquitous break has come to epitomise the plunderphonic appropriative practices of musical producers today.

Drawing a parallel to these processes and extrapolating from the ideas set in motion by these practices, this exhibition seeks to identify and examine a variety of sample-based artistic strategies; Strategies consisting of re-presenting familiar forms, arranging myriad objects and images into new configurations, inserting existing material into original new narratives and remaking elements from found sources, enabling the artists to focus our attention onto on the cultural ephemera that they find around them.

This exhibition collects together a group of artists who utilise strategies of mediation, re-presentation, remaking and referencing in order to establish a critical distance that invites and performs a re-examining of the material that has been chosen and presented. The artists act as selectors and mediators, utilising visual, cultural, aesthetic or physical sampling in varying ways. Through presenting this variety of practices and outcomes the exhibition seeks to expand on art-historical notions of appropriation while examining the various practices within light of that discourse.

Accompanying this exhibition will be a specially commissioned text addressing Jacques Derrida’s ideas on communication, repetition and iteration by Peter Dennis, a PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Reading.


Friday 27 May 6.30-10pm
Opening night featuring performances by Steve Dickie with Stuart Bannister
The Mean and a Bit More and More than the Average Number of Ears

Tuesday 7 June 6.30-8pm at Grand Union
Artist David Blandy talks about his video work Child Of The Atom, with his grandmother, Anne Piper, a novelist, playwright and anti-nuclear weapons activist.

‘There is a familial myth that my late Grandfather would not have survived being a Japanese Prisoner of War had the atomic bombing of Hiroshima not occurred. So it could be argued that I owe my existence to one of the most terrifying events of human history and the death of 110,000 people.’

David Blandy

Free event, all welcome.

Thursday 16 June 6.30-8pm at Eastside Projects
A Talk (The one that begins with Bruce Springsteen)

Hosted by Eastside Projects and Extra Special People.

David Raymond Conroy presents a talk about empathy and sincerity. Guiding us through a series of clips found on YouTube; ranging from recordings of live music performances, to stand-up comedy, to Hollywood cinema, the artist discusses the highly personal relationships he has built with these short videos and how they have come to be points of influence and inspiration.