1 July – 4 September 2022
FREE / No booking required
Gala Gallery, Durham, DH1 1WA
Part of Durham University’s Summer in City Arts Festival

Gnossiennes is a newly commissioned two channel digital film produced by Graham Dolphin.

Erik Satie’s six works, Gnossienne, written in the late 19th century, are composed in free time, with no time signatures given just descriptions for the musician to interpret. The name ‘Gnossienne’ was coined by Satie to describe this new form of tempo and freedom for the performer. These hugely influential works have become commonplace through their use in film, television and telephone on-hold music and often sited as the first ambient musical works.

Dolphin’s film depicts an elongated piano keyboard across two monitors with each of the six Satie compositions playing at once. The single, static camera shot, positioned above the keyboard allows a unique view of the pianist’s hands as they move across the keys with the audio layered to create a single soundtrack. 

As with much of Dolphin’s previous work, the presentation of the familiar repeated or layered allows the work to be seen and heard anew. Previous works have seen the artist writing out the complete lyrics of musicians in minuscule handwritten script, a series of faithfully recreated fan memorials to popular icons and the use of fashion magazines as sculptural objects.

A free limited run risograph print and a signed audio CD will be available during the exhibition.

Gnossiennes is a collaboration between NGCA, Durham University, Foundation Press, Sunderland and John Snijders. This project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Image: Graham Dolphin, Gnossiennes(still), 2022, two-channel digital film with soundtrack, 15 minutes, looped. Courtesy of the artist.