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Richard Grayson: Offsite: Matt’s Gallery at Nine Elms By Our Own Hand July 2017–ongoing | Possessions_inc. July 2016–ongoing | Offsite at Dilston Grove: Nothing Can Stop Us Now 23 May–15 June 2014 | The Magpie Index 18 January–12 February 2012 | The Golden Space City of God 13 May–28 June 2009 | Intelligence 19 January–13 February 2005 | Messiah 24 November–19 December 2004 | Publications | Editions | Artist’s Website



Richard Grayson | The Magpie Index, 18 January–12 February 2012 | Private View: 15 January 2–5pm


Richard Grayson, The Magpie Index, (2010). Image courtesy the artist, Locus+, and Matt's Gallery, London.


Richard Grayson, The Magpie Index, (2010). Image courtesy the artist, Locus+, and Matt's Gallery, London.


Richard Grayson, The Magpie Index, (2010). Image courtesy the artist, Locus+, and Matt's Gallery, London.

Press Information

The Magpie Index is a single-screen high-definition video artwork by artist Richard Grayson, focusing on legendary singer-songwriter Roy Harper, and is Grayson’s third exhibition at Matt’s Gallery.

In The Magpie Index Roy Harper delivers a series of monologues to camera. Each section addresses a different aspect of his work, his philosophy and history, covering the counter culture; religion and superstition; ornithology; nature and the environment; political engagement and the end of politics as well as Harper’s experiences in the music world and the importance of changing light bulbs.

Roy Harper released his first record, Sophisticated Beggar in 1966 and was revered by contemporaries such as Led Zeppelin for his integrity and the uncompromising way he followed the dictates of his conscience rather than the prerogatives of the music business, ‘Hats off to Harper’ on Led Zeppelin III acknowledged this. He was resident at the legendary Les Cousins Folk club in Soho in the early sixties and became a staple of Free Festivals in the late sixties and seventies. He has worked with musicians such as Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, Keith Moon, and Kate Bush, who describes him as ‘one of the greatest of English song writers’. His recent solo concert at the Royal Festival Hall in November was described as ‘historic’ by the Guardian, and by the Telegraph as ‘a bright burning of never more vital talent, full of pure, deep emotions and devastating performances of musical brilliance.’

His work and approaches are resolutely independent and informed by a strong personal and ethical vision. He has used his songs and writings to propose alternative histories of culture, launch attacks on establishment positions and to critique social, political and religious operations.

The Magpie Index explores the ways that a fierce personal vision developed and how it shaped and expressed ideas of the ‘alternative culture’ of the sixties and seventies where music was a central platform for debate. The work moves from the biographical into the social and cultural spheres to present this individual voice in ways that allude to the traditions of the radical non-conformist, the visionary and the outsider.

The Magpie Index extends Grayson’s interest in alternative and heterodox understandings, the operations of belief and unorthodox modellings of the world and its histories, and his focus on the sites of culture and music as places where subjective readings and understandings are translated into wider societal and political spheres.

In memory of Alan Haydon (1949–2011).

The Magpie Index was commissioned by Locus+ and the De La Warr Pavilion. It debuted at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, as part of Richard Grayson’s solo exhibition that opened in January 2010. Matt’s Gallery is generously supported by Arts Council England.
Locus+, De La Warr Pavilion, Arts Council

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Biography
Born 1958 Morecambe, England. Lives and works in London. Selected Solo Exhibitions 2014 The Golden Space City of God, Old School Room Project Space (OSR) West Coker, Somerset, UK 2012 The Magpie Index, Matt's Gallery, London; Triumph (with Steve Wigg), Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, Australia 2011 The Objectivist Studio Alma Enterprises London; The Golden Space City of God Southampton City At Gallery; Richard Grayson KunstMuseum Des Kantons Thurgau Switzerland 2010 The Magpie Index. Baltic Gallery Newcastle upon Tyne; Richard Grayson Yuill/Crowley Gallery Sydney Australia; Richard Grayson: A Five Year Retrospective De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill 2009 The Golden Space City of God Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, New Zealand; The Golden Space City of God. Matt’s Gallery London. 2006 Suspicious Fires, Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney 2005 Intelligence, Matt’s Gallery, London 2004 Messiah, Matt’s Gallery, London and Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney; The Messiah, Kunstlerhaus Gethanien, Berlin 2002 A Diary, A History, A Walk up the Hill, Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide; Ways the World Ends, Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney 2000 Negative Space (things I don’t understand), Yuill/Crowley Gallery, Sydney 1999 1000 accidents/Ahistoryofreading, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Ahistoryofreading Artspace, Sydney 1998 A Famous Struggle/VariousThings Explained, Contemporary Art Centre, Adelaide Selected Group Exhibitions 2013 HIS MASTER'S VOICE Von Stimme und Sprache/On Voice and Language, Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund, Germany; Drawing Biennial, The Drawing Room, London, England 2012 The Best of Times the Worst of Times - Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, Arsenale 2012 • The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Kyiv, Ukraine; Magpie Index, screening, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Scotland; Ghosts Off The Shelf, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany 2011 Ffilm 3, Oriel Gelf Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales; Seeing in the Dark, Circa Newcastle upon Tyne; This is What I Do, Metro Arts Brisbane Australia; Ffilm 3, Oriel Gelf Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales 2010 Sydney Biennial, Australia; The Beauty of Distance, Film and Video, The Russian Club Gallery, London, England 2009 Curators Choice Tracy Williams Gallery New York USA ; Choral Visual, Casa de la Cultura, Buenos Aires, Argentina; International Artist in Residence: New Works 09.01. curated by Trevor Smith at Artpace, San Antonio, Texas 2008 Obscurum Obscurantis Tallin Arthoone, Estonia 2007 A Number of Worlds Resembling Our Own Smart Project Space, Amsterdam; Navigations Per Forma Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin 2006 Happy Believers 7th Werkleitz Biennial, Halle Germany 2005 Art Unlimited Basel; Project 3 CACSA Adelaide; Electric Renaissance Culture-Centre Halle; Gott sehen - Das Überirdische als Thema derZeitgenössischen Kunst Kunstmuseum des Kantons Thurgau, Kartause Ittingen, Switzerland 2004 Cartographies Performance Space, Sydney; Planet B Magazin 4 Vorarlberger Kunstverein and Bregenzer Kunstverein, Bregenz Selected Exhibitions as Curator 2014 Worlds in Collision, Adelaide International 2014, Australia 2012  REVOLVER, Matt's Gallery, London 2010 Polytechnic, Raven Row Gallery London 2007 Scary Movie Contemporary Art Centre, Adelaide 2006 This Will Not Happen Without You (Basement to Locus 1979 - 2007) (Arts Council touring exhibition) John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle and Belfast University; A Secret Service (Hayward Gallery touring exhibition) Hatton Gallery, Newcastle, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill and The Whitworth Gallery, Manchester 2002 (The World May Be) Sydney Biennale, Fantastic Sydney, Australia

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Bibliography
Selected Articles and Publications 2012 The Best of Times the Worst of Times Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, David Elliot, Kiev Biennale catalogue; What the Dickens?, Sam Sherman, Artforum; Richard Grayson: The Magpie Index, Mark Prince, Art Monthly; The Magpie Index, Sam Sherman, Artforum; Roy Harper sings for the birds, Frances Morgan, BFI Sight & Sound 2011 Holy Objectionable Objectivists!, Polytechnic, Rachel Withers, Art Forum January; Looking Back (pick of the year), Mike Sperlinger, Frieze Jan Feb; Get away to Yesterday, Marcia E Vetrocq, Art in America Dec; For The Untimely: Polytechnic, Denise Robinson, Camera Austria no 112; Polytechnic, Art Papers (USA) Jan/Feb, Don’t Miss: Polytechnic, Helen Sumpter, TimeOut 4-10 Nov; 2010 Polytechnic, Max Zoller, Art Monthly No 340 Oct; Tips: Polytechnic, Alina Astrova, Kaleidoscope. Issue 08 Autumn; Polytechnic Early British Video Art, Colin Perry, Sight and Sound; Polytechnic, Francesca Gavin, Rough Version; A Return to Content? Polytechnic at Raven Row, Melissa Gronlund, Rhizome 27 Oct; Sculpture Center, Curator’s Notebook Polytechnic 22 Oct; Polytechnic Where Art You? Helen Wilson blog; Pieternel Vermoortel, Three Exhibitions in London, Metropolis M; Polytechnic: come with us now on a journey to the 1970’s, Lauren Down, Snipe Oct; Polytechnic, Nichola McCartney Spectator Arts Blog 17 Sept; The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a precarious Age, David Elliot 17th Biennale of Sydney catalogue, Australia; 17th Biennale of Sydney, Peter Hill, Frieze Magazine 133 Sept; Film and Video Russian Club, Sally O’Reilly, Art Monthly No 334 March; Richard Grayson, Art Monthly, Pryle Behrman No 334 March; 2009 Picks of The Year: Visual Arts Golden Space City of God, Gabriel Coxhead Time Out London Christmas Edition; ite, missa est, Boris Kremer, Broadsheet (Australia), Vol 38.3; The Golden Space City of God at Matt’s Gallery, JJ Charlesworth, Time Out London No 2024, June 4th; Credit Crunch Art, Waldemar Januszeck, Sunday Times 24 May. 2007 You Talking to Me? On curating Group Shows that Give you a Chance to Join the Group Ralph Rugoff, What Makes a Great Exhibition, Ed Paula Marincola, Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage; A Secret Service, Sally O'Reilly, Art Monthly, May issue; A Secret Service Peter Suchin, Frieze, issue 107; Odd unnerving and utterly compelling, Kirsten Smith, The Guardian, January 27 2006 A Secret Service Robert Clark, The Guardian, September 16 2005 Modern Art: A Critical Introduction Pam Meecham & Julie Sheldon, Routledge; Richard Grayson Gabriel Coxhead, Meta Papers; Richard Grayson Martin Herbert, Time Out issue 63; Messiah, Richard Grayson Peter Suchin, Art Monthly, February 2005 issue 28 2004 I am Good at Games Ed Boris Kremer essays by Ihor Holubiziky and Astrid Mania, Planet B Catalogue, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien; 2003 Ways of Saying; Reflections on the recent paintings of Maria Cruz and Richard Grayson Art and Australia, Vol 41, no 1 2002 In your dreams, HQ Magazine, May; Why the Biennale is a bit of a miracle, Bruce James, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May; Fietta Jarque El capital siempre determina a las biendes, El Pais, 16 Feb; Sydney apre la Biennale: la finzione a di scena, Flash Art (Italy), April/May; 2002 Biennale of Sydney, Simon Rees, Flash Art No 225 July/Sep; Cuts and thrust, Michael Hutak, The Bulletin 16, April; A Fabulous Mess, Michael Hutak, The Bulletin, 4 June; As Good as a Wink, Benjamin Genocchio, The Weekend Australian 25 May; Tate Magazine, Issue 29, Summer; Biennale of Sydney, Jeff Gibson, Artforum, Autumn; Fantasic Sydney Biennale, Michael Benton, Art in America, November; Biennale of Sydney, Sotiis Kyriacou, Contemporary, June; Fabulous-Biennale, Hannah Fink, Art Monthly (Australia), No. 151 Selected Writing (articles and catalogue essays) 2008 A Number of Disappearances, catalogue essay, Mark Wallinger; Traceurs To Trace, catalogue essay, Layla Curtis, Chelsea Space, Aargauer Kunsthaus Switzerland; Door Window Draw, catalogue essay for exhibition of works by Anna Barriball at Gallery Bo Bierggaard, Copenhagen, Denmark; Lindsay Seers, SMART Papers, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Scary Movie, catalogue essay, Contemporary Art Centre SA, Australia; Without You This Will Not Happen: (Basement to Locus 1979 to 2007), University of Sunderland Press 2006 Hexen 2039, Suzanne Treister, essay, Black Dog Publishing; A Secret Service, Hayward Gallery 2005 Mike Nelson: Between a formula and a code, contributors Peter Eleey, Richard Grayson, Ralph Rugoff and Rob Tufnell, Turner Contemporary, Koenig Books 2004 Doubtiful: dans les plis du réel University of Rennes, catalogue essay; Qualified Survivors: A curriculum for artists, ed Paul Boneventura and Steven Farthing, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University 2003 Ideal States James Angus Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, catalogue essay 2002 Grasshopperworlds: The World May Be Fantastic catalogue essay, Sydney Biennale; Mike Nelson: The Deliverance and the Patience catalogue essay for Peer Trust, 49th Venice Biennale

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