Tom Dale, The Cow Palace, 2008
Kings Island: Tom Dale
Plymouth Arts Centre
38 Looe Street
PL4 0EB UK
Phone: +44 (0)1752 206114
Fax: +44 (0)1752 206118
Contact: Hannah Prothero
27 September –16 November 2008
Open: Monday 5.30pm-8.30pm
This first major solo exhibition by young artist Tom Dale, traces the phenomenon of the motorcycle stunt rider, in particular the 1970s American icon Evel Knievel.
Dale's new sculptural work is a series of reconstructed stunt ramps whose trajectories have been skewed. Leading off into impossible directions they conjure up ideologies of national pride and sacrifice: launch pads for the political ideals of a culture and its time. Dale also presents a film work comprised of documentary footage of Knievel's jumps, interviews and excerpts from a film, in which Knievel starred as a fictionalized version of himself.
Evel Knievel was infamous to a generation of children for his toy figure merchandising. He was a shameless publicist as well as a self-proclaimed national icon, preaching a moral code that he hardly adhered to himself. Knievel and the stunt man's heyday was born out of great social upheaval in the United States. His philosophical monologues and acts to momentarily defy gravity proposed pseudo solutions to the problems of the era. Perversely offering the crowd a chance to witness either a death or a defiance of one.
Tom Dale's enquiry searches how these attitudes permeate the time we now find ourselves in, albeit with a set of different contemporary icons. The exhibition Kings Island takes its title from the site of one of Knievel's last motorcycle jumps in Kings Island, Ohio.
Tom Dale graduated from Goldsmiths in 2006. His videos, sculptures and installations have been shown throughout the UK, Europe and USA. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Template, Union Gallery London; Backseat Driver, City Gallery Auckland; Reckless Behaviour, the Getty Museum LA; and 13+, Florence Lynch Gallery, New York. He works with both objects and film, never more satisfied than when these mediums conspire to complement and undermine one another.
This project has been developed from a residency at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland. Supported by Arts Council England.