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CULTURE

Graham Dolphin

by Josh Rubin
on 05 April 2006
grahamdolphin.jpg

One of the standouts at last month's Scope New York, Graham Dolphin’s art, employing seemingly-compulsive writing as the centerpiece, simultaneously recalls Fluxus, Marcel Duchamp and the back of a notebook owned by a girl in junior high. With meticulous, miniature penmanship, Dolphin makes dense, obsessive, lovely formations of words using lyrics from pop songs as his mundane-born muse.

"White Lyrics" indents the complete lyrics of the Beatles’ White Album on the record’s cardboard sleeve. Others works ‘engrave’ lyrics right onto the vinyl in a circular, almost runic formation. Krafwerk’s The Model and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds are just two of Dolphin’s canvases for this. In art paper, Velvet Underground Lyrics cascades the text into a violet spectrum, part Ed Ruscha, part Mark Rothko.

One could argue Dolphin’s work is entirely about economies—both personal and monetary—and the tools we use to negotiate between these realms. Lyrics have no gold weight worth, just an imbued personal value. Each record probably cost $7 when it was purchased. Sentiment scribed on top, these are the silver pieces of personalized currency. By using a garden-variety felt-tipped pin to make the marks, Dolphin’s work also discusses hierarchies of value in the art market.

Our world is one filled with fine print and it’s rarely used to express anything celebratory. Looking at 25 Neil Young Songs (pictured above), concentric circles of pharmaceutical-disclaimer-sized writing, one begins to realize fine print has become part of our subconscious visual vocabulary.

More images after the jump and at Dolphin's gallery, Seventeen.

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