No Room in Hell (Absent Qualia)
22 October – 14 December 1997
"What are they doing? Why do they come here?
Part of instinct, memory, what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives."
Dawn of the Dead, George Romero
In the clutches of trees in the park that surrounds Matt’s Gallery, on the derelict ground between the ruined warehouses, along the slow-moving canal, there is movement. Shambolic teenagers emerge and move as if motivated by some unseen force.
They are the undead!
They are moving, dragging their stiff limbs towards the few inhabited buildings at the park’s edge. Instinctively they gravitate towards a set of open shutter-doors....THEY ARE INSIDE THE BUILDING! Like automata the zombies invade the gallery. They are searching, striving to find objects that had relevance in their lives; televisions, phones, clothes to wear, a sofa to slouch on - and in their vacancy their searchings spiral into a mindless carnival of activity.
But wait! They are aware that we are watching them!
Born in 1965 and educated at Camberwell School of Art, London, and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, Sean Dower has been included in a number of prominent group exhibitions including Lost Property, W139, Amsterdam & Great Western Studios, London, 1995, Against, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, Pandemonium, ICA, London, and Rational Behaviour at The Tannery, London, all 1996.
In his new installation for Matt’s Gallery, his first major commission for a public gallery, the artist presents a three-dimensional video installation that plunders the visual conventions of low-budget 1970’s horror films, then mixes them with contemporary street culture and the mythology of the undead to be found in Voodoo. Within the apparent humour in Dower’s work there is a darkness that leaves us feeling uneasy with our laughter, perhaps in the realisation that we mask what we feel uncomfortable about in humour.
We share our attendance in the gallery with these unconscious beings. Becoming self-conscious, we are left to wonder to what extent we too go about our own lives in the fog of routine and conditioned behaviour.
The zombies are amongst us! They walk within our galleries!