Single frame from
Suspended Animation - 29 Drawings of the Same Photograph (2000)

Installation shot of
Suspended Animation - 29 Drawings of the Same Photograph (2000)
29 drawings 235mm x 177mm each
shown alongside
Suspended Animation - 26 Drawings of the Same Photograph (1998)
26 drawings 235mm x 177mm each


Suspended Animation - 29 Drawings of the Same Photograph (2000)

2nd in a series of works the first being Suspended Animation - 26 Drawings of the Same Photograph 1998. The work consists of 29 drawings of the same photograph. The drawings are presented in two forms alongside each other. (1) The framed drawings in a long continuous horizontal line around the gallery space. (2) As a video animation where the 29 drawings are transferred to video, one drawing appearing for one frame and then looped in a continuous animation.

Text below taken from the publication to accompany the exhibition
The Fantastic Recurrence of Certain Situations
Sala de Exposiciones del Canal de Isabel ll, Madrid, Spain
Created by The British Council & The Photographers Gallery, London

Curated by Kate Bush



    ...Dryden Goodwin's work in this exhibition, while not photographic in form, reflects on the conditions of photography. The companion pieces Suspended Animation: 26 Drawings from the Same Photograph (1998) and Suspended Animation: 29 Drawings from the Same Photograph (2000), both emanate from a single, still photograph: a photograph of the artist at a singular moment in time, and at a singular moment in his own history - at the ages of 26 and 29 respectively. Goodwin - trained as a painter in the exacting life rooms of the Slade - makes a sequence of exquisite drawings from the photograph in question, starting afresh each time. These drawings, similar but ever so slightly different, are then filmed - at precisely one frame per drawing - sequenced, and looped into a curious self-portrait. What's curious is that, as in the original photograph, the self is figured in a state of suspended animation, frozen in time and immobilised in two dimensions. And the moments that he chooses to represent - gazing at the sky, perhaps at a passing aeroplane, holding his breath underwater - are by definition, moments of temporary suspension. And yet the cumulative effect of the video animation is of a re-mobilisation of the static moment: it is a still image paradoxically composed of moving parts. These portraits change and move almost imperceptibly, just as we ourselves change inexorably but invisibly with the passage of time. When Roland Barthes famously failed to recognise himself in his photograph, his misperception was due to photography's inevitable abstracting of the self from the flow of time and motion. Goodwin's pulsating self-portraits compensate for the distorting effects of the still photograph, by substituting an image which approximates more accurately a self and a physiognomy mutating through time rather than fixed in it. There is a kind of melancholy romanticism attached to holding onto these moments, as Goodwin quite literally 'draws' himself out, as if the procedure could somehow reverse and recover lost time.

    Kate Bush


    Dryden Goodwin

    1. Suspending a moment

    Dryden Goodwin's two works, Suspended Animation: 26 drawings of the same photograph (1998) and Suspended Animation: 29 drawings of the same photograph (2000), mark the time of their making in terms of the age of the artist and in each, the artist presents himself in an act of anticipation or suspension. In the first, the artist looks upwards, as an airplane flies overhead - a frozen moment of exhilaration. The idea is presented more literally in the later work, where the artist is seen underwater, holding his breath, resisting an inevitable progression in time. Each image denotes change and renewal. Each image is drawn, and drawn again and again from an original photograph, the number of images equaling Goodwin's age. A simple equation, but one which stems from complex, even cabalistic, patterns of thought concerning time, numbers as meaning, and our place within this order.

    In each work the drawings are also re-invented as animation loops, at a speed of 25 frames per second. Goodwin re-animates the solitary suspended image in a way that sequences his experience as a stuttering re-enactment of a single moment in time. He takes it upon himself to master his movements in time, yet is caught in a timeframe without progression, a furtive re-viewing over and over of the same moment. There is an inherent frustration to the drawings, the inescapable impossibility of suspending a moment in time. Yet Goodwin engages the viewer in this process by holding their attention as both the video loop and drawings take time to absorb looking at one drawing after the next, each requiring equal amounts of time. The more scrutinised, the greater the desire to find differences, to cast slight differences as faults, to examine the artist's work in some bizarre test of labour.

    1. Re-animating a moment

    How far can we distort, alter or harbour a moment until it becomes something quite distinct from its origin? Goodwin exercises the possibilities, whittling fragments in time to the point of disintegration, turning and re-shaping them into emotionally charged experiences. He stretches time into different shapes and orders by overlaying images snatched from video to create an impression of bending time. Encounters on the street take on a sculptural form - time becomes a pliable medium, malleable, yet visually sequential. The videos are non-linear; devoid of narrative, purely about a moment of silent and possibly undetected interaction.

    Goodwin's video work is an abstraction of the everyday. Works such as Wait, Within, or About stem from a desire to people-watch, using real and often insignificant moments as material. The works allow the viewer to watch and empathise with people, who may pass by unnoticed on the street. The unknowing subjects stay in our imaginations as markers in a visual language of encounter, experienced everyday on a street, or from the window of a bus.

    The act of observation becomes filmic, somehow deliberate, poetic. Goodwin zooms in on the smallest gesture, or fragment of a gesture, that to him sums up the whole atmosphere of a person or event. He then composes a soundtrack for each video. Sometimes the noise of a street is captured, then woven into a score, orientating the viewers' interpretation of a scene. Sometimes the same moments are re-visited over and over to different scores, revealing multiple interpretations of the same moment in time.

    Goodwin has said that his work is an investigation that he knows he will never complete - the solution is not the goal of his endeavor. He is driven by the constant desire to decipher how our lives exist within a framework of sequential time and the need to repeatedly, empirically observe the world around him.

    Louise Hayward

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