Art On The Underground Launches New Video Work By Benedict Drew

Art on the Underground is about to launch the new commission by British artist Benedict Drew. In this instance the artist plays with the language of advertising, with a new video work being displayed on digital screens on the London Underground network. The work, titled ‘de-re-touch’, has been created in direct response to London Underground’s unique public environment and will be embedded amongst the cycle of real adverts displayed on the Underground’s digital screens. The work will launch with a live performance by Benedict Drew at Aldwych disused station.

The artist has also created an electronic and experimental audio piece available on the Art on the Underground website, to accompany his video piece. The album acts as a soundtrack to the way we encounter the busy Underground network and is designed to listen to while travelling. Drew works across video, sculpture and music. He has a substantial background in experimental music that dates back to his time at art school in the 1990’s.

Image: Benedict Drew, ‘de-re-touch’, courtesy Benedict Johnson 2015.

‘De-re-touch’ explores the way digital interfaces change how we interact with the world around us; a close-up shot of an ear, a throbbing fist and flashing text including ‘body image’, ‘touch’ and ‘photoshop’ reference the culture of image retouching and the mass of bodies we encounter via advertising and during the daily Tube struggles through hoards of passengers. The work is eight seconds long and acts as a juxtaposition with the sheer quantity of adverts and images experienced on a daily basis; via a lo-fi aesthetic comprised of layers of handwritten text and paint marks – to floating computer-generated imagery.

Benedict Drew said: “This work comes out of my thinking about the Underground as a site where real bodies and advertised bodies co-exist. I want to explore these two conditions where the real bodies cooperate much more than their mediated equivalent.”

Image: Benedict Drew, ‘de-re-touch’, courtesy Benedict Johnson 2015.

About Art on the Underground:

London Underground established Art on the Underground in 2000 initially under the title Platform for Art, with the purpose of producing and presenting new artworks that enrich the journeys of millions on the Tube every day. From single site large-scale commissions at locations such as Gloucester Road Station, to pocket size commissions for the cover of the Tube map, Art on the Underground has gathered a roll-call of the best artists in the last 15 years, maintaining art as a central element of Transport for London’s identity and engaging passengers and staff in a strong sense of shared ownership. For London Underground’s 150th Anniversary in 2013, Art on the Underground commissioned Turner Prize winning artist Mark : to create Labyrinth, a permanent artwork for each of the 270 stations on the network. 2014 saw the launch of Art on the Underground’s first project on the river, with a commission by Clare Woods for TfL’s London River Services; a new Gloucester Road commission, An English Landscape (American Surveillance Base near Harrogate, Yorkshire), 2014 by Trevor Paglen; and The Palace that Joan Built by Mel Brimfield and Gwyneth Herbert, a major work responding to the legacy of Joan Littlewood at Stratford station.

About the artist:

Benedict Drew (b. 1977). Recent solo exhibitions include KAPUT, QUAD, Derby (2015); Heads May Roll, Matt’s Gallery, London; The Persuaders, Adelaide Festival, SASA Gallery Adelaide, Australia; Zero Hour Petrified, Ilam Campus Gallery, School of Fine Arts University of Canterbury, New Zealand (all 2014) The Onesie Cycle, Rhubaba, Edinburgh; Now Thing, Whitstable Biennale; This Is Feedback, Outpost, Norwich; Gliss, Cell Project Space, London; and The Persuaders, Circa Site / AV Festival, Newcastle.

Benedict Drew is featured in the British Art Show 8 (2015-2017), a touring exhibition that offers an overview of the most exciting contemporary art produced in the UK. He is represented by Matt’s Gallery, London.

Benedict Drew: ‘de-re-touch’ – A new video artwork for digital screens on London Underground – 2 November 2015 to 28 February 2016

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