Presented as part of The Lowry
s Edit Series the one who was standing apart from me is an exhibition of newly commissioned work by Scottish artist Greig Burgoyne, complemented and informed by several works on paper selected by the artist from the LS Lowry Collection. Burgoyne spent several visits over a period of six months exploring the collection, as well as the galleries themselves, when empty. His focus was not on what we see, but what was absent and sensed.
Based on self-imposed rules and processes, Burgoynes work embraces seemingly contradictory ideas, such as using drawing to visualise the invisible. Rather than a literal interpretation, Burgoyne considers the invisible as the broader absences all around us. In this exhibition, these absences are explored through a series of videos and performances, as well as floor and wall-based works. Central to the exhibition is the performative nature of drawing itself. Going far beyond pencil on paper, this show encourages us to rethink the challenges and possibilities of gesture and mark making as being akin to an intensity of bareness.
The exhibition includes six new performance works on screen, realised in The Lowry Galleries and filmed across locations in Salford. Each of these absurdist performances are propositions about being present. Film works include Rock/Et, in which Burgoyne seeks to enact a pose from a drawing by Van Gogh titled Road to Tarascon, in Peel Park, Salford; and Confetti Football, which involves two five-a-side football teams playing with a small piece of confetti with the first team to score, winning.
Alongside screen-based works there are three sculptural interventions in the gallery space, made in relation to Burgoyne traversing the gallery spaces and utilising gestures inspired by LS Lowry drawings. Burgoyne covered the gallery floor in hessian pieces, a material he is attracted to for its utilitarian qualities, and functions as a means to both protect and hide something. Hand stitched together they become the sum of the areas of spaces missed and overlooked. A large wall painting will inject the colour yellow into one of the gallery spaces, drawing attention to an intensity of emptiness.
The new works are complemented by several works on paper by LS Lowry, selected by Burgoyne for their conceptual properties. Burgoyne is drawn to the figures and their movements; where they have come from or are going to is unclear. Claire Stewart, Curator of the Lowry Collection says, Its been a fascinating and enormously enjoyable process going through every drawing by LS Lowry in the collection and seeing them through Greigs eyes. Lowrys pictures are so often full of people occupying large open spaces but Greigs interest has been in the space around the figures, their absence rather than their presence. From that starting point he has developed surreal and engaging work, derived from Lowry but entirely fresh and unique.
On the opening weekend, Burgoyne will present Lowry Workout, a performance that will take place within the LS Lowry Collection Galleries. Performers will imitate body language featured in Lowry's figures, reiterating gestures repeatedly, while being inside the confines of handcrafted hessian sacks.
Burgoyne will also present a mass participatory performance entitled Post-it Note Disco on the closing weekend, featuring 100 participants covered head-to-toe in sticky notes. Each performer will dance and move until all the notes have fallen.
Zoe Watson, Contemporary Curator at The Lowry, says Greig offers a fresh perspective on drawing and our sense of space, highlighting absences and what is often overlooked. He has also given us an exciting new approach to engaging with Lowry and the works in our collection. With Greigs focus on absence and nothingness, he paradoxically turns nothing into something, visualising the invisible.
EDIT is a strand of the exhibitions programming at The Lowry that enables artists and performers to develop previously unexplored ideas in a gallery setting. Its short-term format allows for ambitious presentations of work, often participatory and engaging with new audiences. Previous invited EDIT artists have included DJs, dancers and choreographers, illustrators, and artist collectives.