Chekhov’s Gun

Michelle Deignan, Jon Fawcett, Ryan Gander, Benjamin Owen, Molly Rooke, John Smith

The six artists in Chekhov’s Gun tease the audience’s expectations using highly crafted decoys, plot twists and distractions. ‘Chekhov’s Gun’ is the term for a narrative device that indicates anything that initially seems unimportant within the narrative structure but is subsequently discovered to have a definite purpose. Its inclusion is coldly logical. Another narrative device, the MacGuffin, has precisely the opposite qualities – it is something of outward importance that is later found to have none: the red herring. Its true function lies in the reaction it provokes and the motivation it provides to the characters who encounter it.

Within the artists’ works in Chekhov’s Gun we see mysterious objects whose purpose is unclear, actions that are shown as inconsequential and the dividing line between finished work and its backstage construction is revealed. Each ‘prop’ or narrative may have a single ultimate purpose but simultaneously holds the promise of a plethora of outcomes.

Michelle Deignan produces single and multi channel videos, film installation, photographic and text works. They interweave facts with fictions, overlap the past with the present, the local with the global.
Jon Fawcett’s work is about freedom, empowerment and potential. His practice is developed from research into conspiracy theories, new age ideas and new science. His object-based work is highly engineered, using military or high-end materials and technologies.
Ryan Gander makes artworks that materialise in many different forms from sculpture to film, writing, graphic design, installation, performance and more. He appropriates and re-presents, prompting associative thought processes that connect the everyday and the esoteric.
Benjamin Owen’s work explores disconnection and reflection through spaces and objects. Recent work has explored the potential for objects to become performative as they drift through junk shops, commercial environments and museums.
Molly Rooke is a printmaker who works with found imagery and covert photography which she manipulates by isolating, enlarging and masking figures within. She focuses on the figure of the tourist and the locations they may inhabit, often supplanting false or altered information to disorientate the viewer.
John Smith is a film-maker whose work draws upon everyday life as its raw material. Smith’s meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema. His work frequently explores the ambiguity of images, using voice-over, selective framing and editing to create and subvert meaning.

John Smith will be giving an artist’s talk during the exhibition, details to be announced.

During Chekhov’s Gun the Unit 1 parallel programme of exhibitions and projects includes:
Brzeska’s Eagle (13-31 October) with Liam O’Connor, Rebecca Spooner, Ian Watson
Recycled Cinema (10-24 November) with Jonathan Thomas
It Was Never Going To Be Straightforward (8-15 December) launching the publication of g39’s story
Chekhov’s Gun

Event Title: Chekhov’s Gun
Postcode: Oxford St, Cardiff, CF24 3DT
Further Details:
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