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E9: an anatomy of an area

October 16 – November 14 2004 Fri – Sun 1-6pm
Private View – Friday 15 October 6-9pm

Gary O'Connor

The Peoples Rifles - Victoria Park 1910

Graduated from The Sir John Cass Department of Art at London Metropolitan University in 2000. He has participated in a number of collaborative projects with the composer Donald Bousted including Broader Than Broadway at Seven Seven, London. His other group exhibitions include Souvenir at Transition, The Brunswick Project at The Brunswick Centre, London and Soho in Ottakring in Vienna, Austria. He is a co-founder of eel; an organization providing a platform for experimental work in film, video, audio and live art.

For E9, O'Connor has produced a multi-media installation.

The first part of the work, an atmospheric sound piece with accompanying text, exists in the gallery; thunderstorms, birdsong, dogs could be Victoria park, or then again it could be the artist's back garden. The next part is a t-shirt. Inspired by a classic punk text and ma and pa's courting days, it lists two columns of contrasting characteristics (see below). The final part is a piece of writing - Suffragette City - inspired by a photo of 'The Peoples Rifles' (Sylvia Pankhurst's bodyguards) on manoeuvres in Victoria Park.

For all of these works O'Connor not only plays with notions of authenticity but also investigates the oral story telling traditions of perception and transformation. For him Victoria Park is the smoke and mirrors backdrop in which he sets his urban myths.

Some Interesting Things You Didn't Know About My Parents
Limited Edition T-Shirt with Text (50)

Some Interesting Things You Didn't Know About My Parents - Limited Edition T-Shirt with Text (50) (Detail - see below for complete text)
Some interesting things you never knew about my parents:

My mother was the daughter of a politician. She lived in a large Victorian house in Stoke Newington but they also had a place in the country. As a child she was very inquisitive: she once fell from her bedroom window and broke her wrist whilst trying to measure the stars. She had a French governess and her family took holidays in Switzerland. By the age of nine she was accomplished on flute as well as the piano. She lived in Paris for several years and studied painting at the Sorbonne. She published a collection of poems under a pseudonym and was once asked to dinner by Peter Sellers, but declined, gracefully. Her favourite book is Orlando by Virginia Woolf but she also has books by Dickens, Jean Paul Sartre and Will Self. She has three LPs by Scott Walker, she never cared for the Beatles or the Stones but she thought that Brian Jones was very beautiful. She didn't have sex until she was twenty one - she said it was worth the wait. She once owned a pink Beetle Car but now she drives a Volvo estate. She still paints; but in secret, and sells her work anonymously on ebay. She once told me, that when she and my father were courting, they went for a walk in Victoria Park.

As a child my father had to share his shoes with his brothers and his father beat him with a belt whenever he stepped out of line. His mother would wrap up hot bricks from the oven in blankets and give them to him and his brothers to take to bed to keep warm. At the age of thirteen, his father kicked him out of the house. He never learnt to read or write but he likes to look at books. He has a scar on his right ankle from being bitten by dog, he has a scar on the little finger of his right hand from shutting it in a door and he has a scar on his left shoulder from being attacked with a knife. He used to ride a Vincent Black Shadow but now drives a white transit van. He got arrested for stealing lead off of a factory roof and beaten up by the police. His best friend was murdered at the age of twenty three. He dislikes foreigners but talks to them in pubs. He has a fascination for the armed forces but somehow, he managed to skive National Service. There is a tattoo of a red rose on his right forearm with my mum's name underneath it. He has two other children but he doesn't know where they are. He used to take my mother walking in Victoria Park, but hasn't been there in years.