E8: The Heart of Hackney
16 June - 15 July 2007 Fri-Sun 12-6pm
The Escape Artist (detail)
Gary O'Connor uses his experience of once getting trapped in the Regent Studios lift as the starting place for his purposefully twisted work. ' As an artist and a writer, the aspect of location plays an important role in my work,' says O'Connor. 'A sense of place, its history and the people who live and work there become subjects of inquiry. In terms of structure; I try not to constrict myself: pushing the envelope and breaking convention is at the heart of what I do, although this may not always be apparent at first glance. Sometimes this means pulling the carpet out from under my own feet: facts become blurred, exaggerated, and riddled with contradiction.'
From 'E8 A Modern Mess' in the publication E8: The Heart of Hackney
'When invited to take part in E8, my first thoughts were of the time I was once trapped in one of the lifts in Regent Studios. The work I have made is derived from that unsettling experience: a sense of confinement, fear and the inability to escape, but also draws on the life of Daniel Erskine, known to those close to him, as Noah. Erskine grew up on Broadway Market in the 1940s. He became a petty thief with a passion for Escapology. He was well known by the local Police and had many an opportunity to practice his craft, but the turning point in his life was when he took this interest a step further and developed it into a stage show. Tragically, his career in the theatre came to an abrupt end in 1958. Erskine was murdered by his lover, Maria Hackman. His body was found in the Grand Union Canal.'
Gary O'Connor's short story 'Talking to Moses' appears in the publication E8: The Heart of Hackney