Broomberg & Chanarin: Rudiments
25 September – 31 October 2015
Broomberg & Chanarin’s debut solo exhibition at Lisson Gallery consists of new photographic, moving image and performative works that collectively explore tensions between discipline and chance, precision and chaos, empathy and the involuntary pleasure of watching the pain of others. Central to the show is a new film work, Rudiments (2015) in which the artists have collaborated with a group of young army cadets at a military camp on the outskirts of Liverpool. Whether Broomberg & Chanarin have staged the scenes we observe or have simply documented the camp’s routine practice remains unclear. The young soldiers-in-training are seen marching, drumming and obeying instructions – enacting a collective, authoritarian form of obedience – with varying degrees of success.
The absurd and disturbing introduction of a ‘bouffon’ – a dark clown whose performance teeters on vulgarity – radically challenges the martial codes supposedly being taught and interrupts their carefully choreographed routines. The children also learn how to pratfall, ‘play dead’ or deliver convincing blows to one another, performing comic actions that are seemingly at odds with the hierarchical structures of the army. Broomberg & Chanarin’s film explores the experience of empathy or the enjoyment of pain in others through formative moments of childhood and innocence of early youth, as well as highlighting the importance of cadets to the armed services and especially the historical role of the drummer boy in battle. The work’s title refers to the 40 rudiments that form the technical foundation of percussive music – including rolls, strokes and paradiddles – while the soundtrack is propelled by a dramatic, improvised score devised for the drums by the American musician Kid Millions (also known as John Colpitts).Continue Reading..