phil griffin: surrender
KETELEER Gallery is delighted to present British artist Phil Griffin’s first exhibition ever. Phil Griffin was Jan Fabre’s first male dancer at the Troubleyn theatre company. Following his dance experience, he built a highly successful career as a creative director in London and Los Angeles. he worked with, a.o., Prince, Rihanna, Adele, Kevin Spacey, Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi and Amy Winehouse. Now, 30 years later, he was invited by Jan Fabre to witness the realisation of the Mount Olympus project as an artist in residence at the Troubleyn Laboratory and to have it serve as the inspiration for a new work of art. The result of this is journey is Surrender, an exhibition comprising 40 photographs and one unique documentary.
The works from Surrender are based on the complete and voluntary surrender of one person to another. A surrender that eventually leads to the revelation of the inner self. The quest for what lies behind the face, the eyes and the skin of a human being is the essence of his strivings. Phil Griffin observes people without norms and values, bringing out the primal human emotions and the primitive within themselves. He aims at blurring the line between humans and animals, causing the alienating effect of not being able to recognise any elements of what the spectator thinks makes us human.
“A good picture is not taken, it is given.”
“I believe that the Surrender series is about giving in to a shared vulnerability. Trusting to let go. A process I believe is only possibly by showing and offering my own vulnerability so that my “collaborator” would shows me his. This results in a moment in which we share a deep and unified truth. It is sometimes ephemeral, transient, elusive and confusing, but always completely honest and open. The portraits often feel lief conversations and emotions rather than pictures. For me this the unique moment where I, the observer, as well as the performer as the observer denounce our power for a single moment of complete trust in each other and where our unified truth withall of its fears, hope, tragedies and beauty can be revealed.” – PHIL GRIFFIN
The photographs contain such an intense energy that they start to show painterly features. Phil Griffin manages to combine drama, fragility and subtlety in a completely unique and personal way.
The trigger and lead for the exhibition is the movie Surrender, created during his period as an artist in residence at Troubleyn. Here, photographs become moving images. It shows a beautiful conversation between two artists who hadn’t seen each other for over 30 years. A conversation about the revelation of man, embracing the concept of honesty as a conscious life choice. A conversation that’s both verbal and non-verbal. Surrender represents the feeling of a life: time, (im)mortality and the eventual surrender of man to all its fears and his true potential.
In concurrence with the showing of Mount Olympus at the Bourla theatre in Antwerp, the gallery will be open for 24 hours on Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th of August.