Friday, 5 February 2010

two gigs in wharf road, N1

At the Victoria Miro Gallery there’s a smallish exhibition of photographs by William Eggleston that is well worth visiting. Eggleston (b1939) has lived and worked mostly in Memphis, Tennessee and from early on made use of colour. His works have become images of choice for discerning rock musicians and chances are you’ll have seen some of them on album covers without thinking about who did them (here’s an example, above, from a 2004 Chuck Prophet disc). The work tends to focus on the funky end of town: the shower recess in a cheap motel, trash in a dumpster, a wall of centrefolds. In one shot Santa, bearing a wreath, appears to float above a tyre depot but we’re alerted by initials in the dirty glass that the figure is a decal on the window itself.

Later I went next door to the Parasol Unit to hear Peter Riley read new work. This consisted of longer pieces: parts of an ongoing poem that tackles knowledge in a distinctively non-Poundian manner nonetheless proceeding in an open form and returning constantly to the area around Halifax, not far from Riley’s own place of nurture, Stockport. It’s a project that he will not be done with for some time so I’ll have to be patient and accept that parts of it appearing here and there over the next few years will be as much as I see (or hear) of the work for a while.

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