A conceptual art double act

Jonathan Monk and Douglas Gordon at the Lisson Gallery

The artists Jonathan Monk and Douglas Gordon today launch a new collaborative exhibition at the Lisson Gallery in London.

Double Act Repeated is a collaborative project comprised of four films, an opening-night performance and a series of new works created specifically for the exhibition. As artists Monk and Gordon share an interest in exploring the creative act as an intuitive process rooted in the history of Conceptual Art. As friends they share a passion for found images, football, word-play and the belief that the best ideas are generated around the dining table.

Click on the image to see works from the exhibition

The Sublimation of Desire, 2008, is four films recording the changes of state from cold to warm and from hot to cold of a bottle of beer, a glass of champagne, a mug of tea, and a cup of coffee. The films are the re-make of a video the artists shot on a very hot afternoon in Budapest in the mid 90s and which showed a cold beer becoming warm within the space of an hour. Again, at the end of the 90s, on an ice-cold morning in Shwaz, Austria, they documented a hot mug of tea becoming tepid. The original video tapes are now lost and the artists decided to re-create these moments on 16mm film. Set on a loop, the films are obsessive recordings of the elapsing of time and minute observations of subtle changes in state. The relentless sequence of images chart the sublimation of desire: cold beer becomes warm, champagne bubbles go flat, steaming coffee and hot tea become undrinkable.

The artists move effortlessly between formats. In the lower level gallery Monk and Gordon present a series of new sculptural works which reference the Two Ronnies, a British sketch show featuring Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, which the artists share fond childhood memories of. The logo for the programme, two pairs of spectacles, is multiplied and presented in variations of scale and material. The sculptures are a celebration of the double act, not just that of the Two Ronnies, but that of the artists as well, both of whom also wear glasses. Just as the films act as a visible transcription of the passing of time, so the sculptures, affixed or simply leaning against the walls, represent a material translation of an idea. This is something the artists have also explored in numerous neon works, where neon transcriptions are intermittently lit in correspondence to previously performed actions and shared experiences.

Double Act Repeated runs at the Lisson Gallery, 29 Bell Street, London from today until July 31. The opening hours of the exhibition are Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday 11am - 5pm. Call 020 7724 2739 for more information.