Dan Guthrie: IC3 GL5 (I & II)


“I’m really not manipulating the images, I’m manipulating the gap in between the images… what happens when you put this next to that and it creates that immaterial thing in between”
Arthur Jafa, Film Comment, May 2017

Two images, printed in black and white, sit alongside each other.

Both were taken in Stroud, a rural town in Gloucestershire with a 98.2% white population. One is a freeze frame from a mini-DV tape, of a younger version of the artist circa 2004, frozen in motion whilst running around a park. The other is a photograph of a racist statue that has been on public display since the mid-nineteenth century (and at time of writing still remains up) painted tar-black with bright red lips and a gold leaf skirt.

A crude and superficial comparison can be drawn between the appearance of the two figures — a ‘blackboy’ and a Black boy, vaguely similar in form and posture — but the two are much closely bound together by geographical proximity. Guthrie notes: “As a child, whenever I passed underneath the statue on the way to school, I liked to think that it was watching over me like a guardian angel. I realise now it was a relic of a bygone era, haunting me in the present day.”

By presenting these images together, of two black bodies in the countryside, one real and one fake, the artist questions what it means to exist as a person of colour in a rural landscape that remains disfigured by the scars of colonialism.

Dan Guthrie is an artist whose work often explores the multiplicity of Black Britishness.

danguthrie.net / @danglefree