Trish Clark Gallery is pleased to present Sound Anatomy, our second solo exhibition of Phil Dadson’s work. Dadson has been at the forefront of experimentation in intermedia arts since the 70s, working at the intersection of sound, video and performance in a highly collaborative and adaptive practise that has seen him become a significant figure in the canon of contemporary art in New Zealand. Sound Anatomy brings Dadson’s recent global projects together with dynamic new graphite works on paper.
Created earlier this year as part of the Nine Dragon Heads project Jump into the Unknown (a Collateral Event of the 2015 Venice Biennale), Anatomia Sonora da Camera tracks Dadson’s passage through the canals of Venice on a kayak, creating a site-specific sound performance that endures as a video work. Combining Dadson’s own voice with recordings of religious chants and calls to prayer, these sonic interventions play with the unique acoustics under the low bridges of Venice’s back-canals, mingling with the ambient local soundscape to create a stunning, meditative journey.
As a counterpoint to the contemplative peace of Dadson’s Venice work, Heavy Metal plunges the viewer into an energetic collaboration with employees of the Schmidtsche Schack Factory in Kassel, Germany. Invited by curator Jürgen Olbrich to participate in Werk/Kunst/Werk, an exhibition commemorating 125 years of the Metal & Electrics Industry in Nordhessen, Dadson proposed the formation of a percussion ensemble with workers in the factory. Having worked in a Wattie’s canning factory as a student, Dadson recalled the interruptions and glitches that intervened in the regularity of the factories clockwork tonality, dwelling at the time on the possibility of choreographing workers and industrial machinery like an orchestra and finally realising this project in Heavy Metal.
Alongside these video works, Sound Anatomy will present February Music, the second set in an ongoing series of drawings. Representing a performative drawing practise, Dadson executes one drawing per day throughout one month of each year. Following on from the exuberant January Music drawings presented in Dadson’s previous solo exhibition at Trish Clark Gallery, these new drawings are grounded in a monochrome palette with sweeping, rhythmic forms.
Appointed to the Sculpture Department at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1977, Dadson held the position of Head of Intermedia/Time-based arts from 1986 – 2001. Throughout his career Dadson has been the recipient of many key awards and fellowships, enabling opportunities to make art and perform in the USA, Antarctica, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, Canada, Thailand, Indonesia, Hungary, UK, India, Austria and Argentina. Dadson became a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate in 2001, and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2005.