Nothing Can Stop Us Now
23 May – 15 June 2014
For the first in a new series of co-productions between Matt’s Gallery and Dilston Grove, Richard Grayson presents a multiscreen sound and video installation.
Nothing Can Stop Us Now features the song Stalin wasn’t Stallin’ memorably covered by Robert Wyatt on his 1982 album Nothing Can Stop Us Now, a record that has become an exemplar of a strand politically engaged independent music which now seems to represent a model of engaged practice that is increasingly distant and impossible. The song has been arranged by composer Leo Chadburn and is performed by Chadburn, Bishi Bhattacharya, Laura Moody, Tom Herbert, and Sophie Ramsay.
Stalin wasn't Stallin’ was written by Willie Johnson, originally recorded by the gospel a cappella group The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet in 1943 to celebrate Stalin’s stand against Adolf Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union.
The work shows individuals moving though their houses, walking through parks and streets to assemble in front of buildings that represent the financial, political and cultural landmarks of a contemporary London that is shaped by the demands of finance and capital. Each person sings fragments of sound that over time combine into a complex and rousing harmony performance of the arranged song across five screens, the performers slowly appearing across multiple screens so that five people ultimately deliver an arrangement of twenty five voices.
Nothing Can Stop Us Now talks of ghosts of solidarity and aspirations of agency that still underpin ideas and mythologies of contemporary art. It generates a virtual gathering that both articulates and layers occluded models of political understandings of the world. Choral expressions of a song from a past political model of the world contrast against the buildings and developments that constitute the socio-cultural infrastructure of London, global capital and the international rich. A song of collective political identification and associated utopian desires collides with the contemporary idea of the flash mob, seeking to explore ways that opposition to dominant beliefs have and continue to be expressed – through gatherings and group action – but are now mediated and expressed through electronic and digital media.
Music by Leo Chadburn, based on ‘Stalin Wasn't Stallin’’ (Willie Johnson, 1943). The singers for ‘Nothing Can Stop Us Now’ are: Bishi Bhattacharya, Leo Chadburn, Tom Herbert, Laura Moody, Sophie Ramsay.
Richard Grayson works as an artist and curator. Recent exhibitions as artist include His Master’s Voice (on voice and language), HMKV Dortmund; The Golden Space City of God, Old School Room Project Space, West Coker; The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Ukraine; and The Magpie Index, Matt’s Gallery, London. Grayson was recently curator of the 2014 Adelaide international exhibition Worlds in Collision. Richard Grayson is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.
Further exhibitions at Matt’s Gallery
By Our Own Hand
1 – 3 June 2018
1 January 2016 – 1 January 2019
The Magpie Index
18 January – 12 February 2012
The Golden Space City of God
13 May – 28 June 2009
19 January – 13 February 2005
24 November – 19 December 2004