One of the standouts at last month's Scope New York, Graham Dolphinâ€™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 Beatlesâ€™ White Album on the recordâ€™s cardboard sleeve. Others works â€˜engraveâ€™ lyrics right onto the vinyl in a circular, almost runic formation. Krafwerkâ€™s The Model and the Beach Boysâ€™ Pet Sounds are just two of Dolphinâ€™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 Dolphinâ€™s work is entirely about economiesâ€”both personal and monetaryâ€”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, Dolphinâ€™s work also discusses hierarchies of value in the art market.
Our world is one filled with fine print and itâ€™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.