Pages from The Hunters Enter the Woods Cartoon

Sam Keogh

9 March - 14 April 2024

Description

Ext. Woodlands on the grounds of Chateau La Rochefoucauld, Kingdom of France, 1505 – Early morning

Three young nobel men embark on a hunt accompanied by their two pages of hounds. The air is cold and bright, and the forest floor sparkles with dew in dappled stretches of low morning sun. The dogs snaffle the dead leaves for scent of the quarry – the mystical and elusive Unicorn. The page’s doubt its existence, but humour their masters for fear of the stocks. Then, one spots a rabbit…

‘Pages from The Hunters Enter the Woods Cartoon’ is an exhibition of drawing, painting, collage and performance by Sam Keogh. This work expands on Keogh’s recent series of large scale paper collage works which draw heavily from ‘The Unicorn Tapestries’ – a series of seven 16th century Flemish tapestries depicting the pursuit of a unicorn through an idealised landscape.

Flemish tapestries from this period required vast wealth to produce and were commissioned by aristocrats or wealthy merchants to demonstrate their social standing. During the French revolution, many such artefacts were destroyed in acts of iconoclasm or repurposed toward more useful ends. Sections of The Unicorn tapestries were used to protect fruit trees from frost or to keep horses warm in winter months. The tapestries’ surfaces, pockmarked by areas of damage and repair, serve as a material index of these events; each one a fraying, tearing and patching up of Europe’s historical narrative.

In Keogh’s work, the tapestries are re-made as ‘cartoons’, or 1:1 scale working drawings made for the production of a tapestry. Here, the establishing shot of The Unicorn Tapestries exists as a thumbnail, with two ‘Pages of hounds’ pulled out of context by a framing device similar to the ‘camera arrows’ of storyboarding, a hand drawn tool of pre-production which anachronistically chimes with the tapestry cartoon. 

Floating above the two pages is a spectral silhouette of a rabbit. Its palette of acidic dayglo green sits strangely against the earthier tones of the pages and their dogs, and its style of figuration is closer to a more contemporary cartoon, that of Disney or Warner Bros.(or both, as was the case in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.)

Keogh will perform twice during the run of the exhibition, interacting with the cartoon to bring its characters into dialogue. A scene unfolds in which the pages are drawn deeper into the woods by the rabbit. They follow with curious trepidation. But the rabbit evades capture through digression, association and circumscription – manoeuvres which allow it to break free of its frame and play in the gaps between the pages’ world and ours.

Sam Keogh (b.1985, Wicklow, Ireland) works across collage, drawing, sculpture, performance and installation. In recent work, Keogh has built intricate environments in which live performances unfold. These installations incorporate collage, sculptures and found objects which spillover with idiosyncratic detail and extraneous information; shifting between artwork made by Keogh, props used by the performer and ambiguous technologies made by the characters in the universes he constructs. In this indeterminate space, materials, histories and affects begin to smudge into each other until a sticky cognitive map of the present begins to emerge.

Keogh is based between Glasgow and Co. Wicklow, Ireland. He received an MFA from Goldsmiths College in 2014 and completed the Rijksakadmie residency in Amsterdam in 2017. His work has been exhibited at Primary, Nottingham: Goldsmiths CCA, London; Museo Madre, Naples; Centre Pompidou, Paris; 15th Lyon Biennial; The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin and Eva International, Limerick. In 2024, he will have solo exhibitions at Well Projects, Margate; St.Chads, London and Atletika Gallery, Vilnius.

Artists

ExtraWell

  • Sam Keogh

    PFP - Garrulous Creatlach

    £75.00