Mathew Parkin

11 November – 18 November 2016



Grand Union was pleased to present slope-tend-big, a project by Mathew Parkin for SHOUT Queer Arts Festival 2016. The gallery was transformed into a queer social space, with a changing installation of artworks and a public programme of events. Parkin presented his own work, alongside that of invited artists and writers, to form a wider conversation about queer artistic practice.


Mathew Parkin presented new edits of video footage taking diaristic moments of queer food sharing, lesbian parenthood, dancing figures and eroticised male bodies, along with interviews and new writing. These videos were presented as looping mirrors, churning moments of privacy and introversion within the social space of the gallery.  The installation also contain new photographic works on fabric, partitioning and sectioning the space, creating more private moments. Free condoms and lube will be available to take away.

The gallery space shifted throughout the week, hosting  a mixture of film, residencies, discussions and discos. Queerzone3000,  a non-profit organisation committed to the furthering of arts, education and technology within the global LGBTQIA community, will be inhabiting Parkin’s installation developing a film titled Do You Really Want to Hurst Me, exploring the social histories of Birmingham’s Hurst Street and it’s surrounding communities. They invite the public to inhabit the space with them, sharing their stories and participating in the project.

Parkin created a selection of artists films to be shown; featuring work by  Jamie Crewe, Moyra Davey, Christopher Kirubi, Paul Maheke, Alex Padfield, Marlon T. Riggs and Rehana Zaman. These videos speak of desire, eroticism of the body, of female identity and of mortality.

To close the project we screened Derek Jarman’s Will You Dance With Me?, an archive of unedited footage from Benjy’s, a gay nightclub in East London, filmed in 1984. Jarman’s video highlights social rituals, mating rituals, as his camera swoops across the packed dancefloor. It is a safe space, reminding us that night clubs and meeting places had a social efficacy in their time, and continue to do so. The film was followed by a discussion with Parkin, Aaron Wright and Dr Luis-Manuel Garcia around community building and utopia through the dance floor, followed by a disco into the night.

A poster was available to take away, containing a newly commissioned essay by Laura Guy.

Mathew Parkin (b. 1987, Wakefield, UK) explores social issues of digital space, queerness, intimacy, language, privacy, bodily care and the position given to the artist. He is currently working mainly with diaristic and documentary moving image, however work has included sculpture, installation, writing, photography and online work. Recent projects include Like a floral knife, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh (2016); I Believe in you, IMT Gallery, London (2016); Film Open touring, Spike Island, Bristol, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Transmission, Glasgow, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, S1 Artspace, Sheffield and the ICA, London (2015); Sunscreen, part of The Leisure Principle, EM15, Nottingham, Venice and Online (2015); Group Occupation Residency, New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall (2015); Bar Commission for Vogue party, One Thoresby Street, Nottingham (2015); £1 Fish, S1 Artspace, Sheffield (2014); Commissioned text for Too Much, Two Queens, Leicester (2014); Still Wearing Each Other When Alone, Vox Populi, Philadelphia (2014); 45683968, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Leeds (2014); Power Up, SALT+POWELL York (2014); but it could be a Levi’s advert (With Tom Ireland), Flatfile, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2014); One Touch, The Telfer Gallery, Glasgow (2013); Performance Fetish, SWG3, Glasgow (2013); LAN Party, Two Queens, Leicester (2013); When Passive Aggressive Strategies Fail to Get Results, Supercollider, Blackpool (2012); and Dovble Trovble, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (2012). Participant of The Syllabus programme 2015/16, he is currently on the MFA programme at Glasgow School of Art.

This project was part of SHOUT Queer Arts Festival 2016.