The Showroom

Stephen Murphy


1 July - 2 August 1998

For his exhibition at The Showroom Murphy exhibits a new, two-part work that used the projection of 16mm film loops.

In the late 1990s Stephen Murphy had continued to explore the relationship between reality and constructed representations of the real. This had been undertaken through a range of media, especially through the use of computer technology and image manipulation. Murphy had described his choice of this medium as follows, 'for me the computer allows me to dismantle phenomena so as to create spectacle and drama that unfold without disruption, suggesting more contemplative qualities of film stills or paintings'.

The first part of this work for The Showroom comprised and idyllic view of an English meadow. The tranquility of this landscape is accentuated by a cloud of butterflies which fill the view, moving in and out of focus of the spectators gaze. Using 3-d modelling techniques Murphy had 'made' these butterflies and controlled their supposed random paths so that they invariably returned to the same spot after 720 frames of film. Whilst their movements are not explicitly determined their general behaviour has been modelled prior to their 'release'; they are free yet remain trapped into returning into the same spot at certain time.

The second part of this work consisted of two red dots. Their sideways movements, continually tracked the most basic command of the butterflies, that of moving away from and returning to the same place.

In choosing to produce computer enhance imagery, a device closely associated with action-packed cinema, Murphy retained a drive for the hyper-real and the spectacular whilst creating the most serene and beautiful of works.