Dryden Goodwin

  1. When you start to tune in to the act of breathing, when you watch someone drawing breath - you notice how the body changes, the chest expands, the skeleton shifts with the inward rush of air, the muscles of the torso, face and neck, flex and twitch. The act of breathing embodies the animation of life. When making the over 1,300 drawings of my 5 year old son for 'Breathe' (2012), I felt I was literally 'drawing' breath into his body, the process of repeatedly drawing him, encapsulating for me a sense of nurturing and sustaining. I wanted to induce a heightened consciousness about the act of breathing, it being the first sign of animate life and the last register at the moment of passing. This is my son - but the faltering rhythms seemed to become representative of all our vulnerabilities, the tightrope walk we're on, a sense of vulnerability and fragility between movement and stillness, ranging from regular and even breathing when content and at rest, to laboured and anxious after exertion or when under duress, to the tension of the held suspended image when breathing appears to falter or stop. Most of the time we are not conscious of this action; breathing is a constant involuntary exchange between us and the environment we are in, an interdependent embrace, the external internalised, then our actions both individual and collective, emanate out to effect our environment.

    I wanted to create a moving image that reflects not only on the direct environmental challenges, but which also reflects upon a wider concept of the universal hope and aspiration embedded in the preservation of life. At certain points the drawings breakdown and become sketchy and diagrammatic, minimal and abstracted, even x-ray like - almost shrinking to the pulse of a few dense lines - like the beating of a heart - or reduced to the head alone before the torso reemerges filled with the intake of air - following the pathway of the airstream from the nose, mouth and lungs to the thorax and the limbs. It struck me that the atmosphere surrounding the screen, can be perceived as sustaining and ventilating the animation.

    Although evolving from a response to the potential harmful effects of air quality, how the air as well as sustaining us can carry with it diverse, altering and potentially harmful residues, I became excited about how the fragile drawn lines and jittery movement could become a carrier of further information and urgency. A vulnerable figure of a child emphasises this notion of powerlessness and passivity, a call to action, that we are all (as well as those people who find themselves in positions of power and influence) custodians of the environment and the world we live in, we have a collective responsibility to be active in some way, to push against the variety of malignant forces that surround us. 'Breathe' is a portrayal of my son's vulnerability, an attempt to translate into a visceral experience the personal and individual to become public and universal.

    Originally positioned high up on St Thomas's hospital on an eight metre high screen, across the Thames facing the Houses of Parliament, one of the Western world's most powerful institutions - As we have moved forward in time and the piece gets shown again, my son metaphorically looks out at an even broader scape, the vastness and sense of disruption of the multiple challenges in this increasingly destabilised and changing world. A moving image that in some small way I hope, contributes to a sense of urgency and need to focus our attention and collectively react, the desire to build for a future transformed; more equal, more responsible and a more humane world.

    Dryden Goodwin, August 2016

    'Breathe', was originally commissioned and produced by Invisible Dust, part of a programme of artist and scientist collaborations. Curator and Director of Invisible Dust, Alice Sharp linked Goodwin with Professor Frank Kelly, an expert on lung health at King's College London and an advisor to the Government on air pollutants.



    Professor Frank Kelly - King's College London

    Documentation of talks & discussions at the House of Commons

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  2. Documentation of 'Linear' by Dryden Goodwin, a project commissioned by Art on the Underground in London. The project runs from 5th February 2010 to 5th of February 2011. Documentation exploring the various elements of the multimedia project.

    Presented on posters, leaflets, on lightboxes, digital screens and at special exhibition sites across the London Underground network Goodwin has drawn 60 pencil portraits of Jubilee Line staff at work, or at moments of pause in their day, and has created 60 films recording the drawings being made. The films can be viewed online, offering the opportunity to unlock the creation of each portrait. Each drawing concentrates on a person’s face and head. The films show the accelerated progression of these drawings, accompanied by fragments of the conversation between the artist and ‘sitter’, revealing a multitude of personal exchanges and stories. Drawn in many different situations and locations such as a train operator as she drives a train, a track controller in a signalling tower, the director of the line as he manages a crisis, different staff in ticket offices and working on gates. Together they form an intimate and diverse social portrait of this community of workers, both a physical and emotional mapping of the Underground.

    You can see the drawings and also watch all 60 films at tfl.gov.uk/art Also see Dryden Goodwin's website at drydengoodwin.com

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  4. Dryden Goodwin’s first feature-length essay film, focuses on four individuals, each with extraordinary relationships to looking: an international eye surgeon, a NASA planetary explorer, a leading human rights lawyer and the artist/filmmaker himself. Mixing Goodwin’s closely observed drawings, live action and intricately woven soundtrack, the film explores different scales, forms and reasons for looking, in a poetic and metaphysically charged journey. Revealed through intimate access is the empathy and dexterity of the surgeon working with the fragility of the human eye; the quest of the planetary explorer to decipher the cosmos and find evidence of life on Mars; and the scrutiny of the British government, by the lawyer, in extraordinary rendition, drone attack and mass surveillance cases. Goodwin’s looking and implicit presence links the lives of these probing observers, exposing a kinship between those who live by the sensory rules of observation, a desire to decode in pursuit of knowledge and insight. The film’s perspectives range from the minute details of surgery to panoramic expanses of space. Vignettes of strangers and a brief focus on Goodwin’s father and son, invite us to contemplate the known and the unknown, the personal and the remote. Exposing the imaginative leaps we take to reveal what might be concealed or out of sight, the film considers both the physical act of looking as well as the tools we use to perceive the world around us and how these form our own identities.

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  5. State (2004) (drypoint etchings)

    Four sequences of drypoint etchings from the on-going evolving series State. For each sequence Goodwin uses a single copper plate as a metallic palimpsest, repeatedly rubbed down for reuse, which holds traces of each incarnation of the plate. The individual prints show faint evidence of their predecessors, subverting the accumulative 'states' of the conventional etching process. Each sequence exists as a single edition, a type of monoprint drawing, shown with the plate as an inextricable component that contains each overdrawn layer. The finely detailed drypoint drawings offer an intense energy, depicting both human and landscape subjects. A time-based quality of constant reinterpretation is created, pushing and pulling the spatial proximity and contemplation of the subject, suggesting differing levels of alienation and intimacy.

    Extracts of Documentation of State (dry point etchings) 2004, first shown at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London Oct/Nov 2004

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Dryden Goodwin

Dryden Goodwin Plus

Artist Dryden Goodwin's work includes drawing, often in combination with photography and video, he also creates websites, screen-based installations and soundtracks. Recent projects include, 'Breathe', a large scale projection, animating over 1,300 drawings,…

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Artist Dryden Goodwin's work includes drawing, often in combination with photography and video, he also creates websites, screen-based installations and soundtracks. Recent projects include, 'Breathe', a large scale projection, animating over 1,300 drawings, situated opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, part of Invisible Dust, 2012; 'Poised', a film exploring the physical and emotional dynamics of a group of young female divers, commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, exhibited at De La Warr Pavilion, 2012; 'Linear' a series of pencil and video portraits of 60 individuals with different working roles on the Jubilee line, shown across the London Underground, commissioned by Art on the Underground, 2010-2012; a commission for the 'Who am I?’ Gallery at the Science Museum, London, 2010. Solo exhibitions include 'Coax' Raum mit Licht, Vienna, 2011; 'Cast' Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2009 and at the Photographers Gallery, London, 2008. Group exhibitions include, 'Grand National', Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway, 2010; 'Who Gets to Run the World', Total Museum, Seoul also Hanjiyun Contemporary Space, Beijing, 2009. He has also exhibited at Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the Venice Biennale. Collections include, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Tate Collection and The National Portrait Gallery, London. He is a Reader at the Slade of Fine Art, UCL
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