THREE, TWO, ONE
BETH DILLON & JAMES GATT
To set the scene, you the reader must first imagine the tick of a metronome. Whilst reading the following words, remind yourself of this everpresent sound: Welcome to Three, Two, One an exhibition by James Gatt and Beth Dillon. Beth and James, our protagonists in this unfolding story swing through Archive Space in what I’d describe as Sunday attire (Sunday attire is a long T-shirt and socks, the sort of costume that accompanies the slow making of toast and coffee whilst wondering what to do with yourself). Beth and James carry between them a gateway: It’s a sort of door-like structure. The gateway is best described as a cross between a corner store entry’s colourful fly-proofing plastic and a triumphant banner from a Soviet Youth athletics display. As the artists sweep through the space with a hurried walk, they carry the gateway and for a second or two you believe that it may be a portal to another dimension. Yet the fly screen and the socks connote the act of getting the milk from the corner store. They rush through the crowd carrying this door, not waiting for people to get out of the way. People are unwittingly swept through it. Others jump out of its path. Those lucky enough to be swept through our cosmic-portal-cum-fly-screen feel transformed! Suddenly the clothes they wear and the space they inhabit take on new meaning: The ritual is complete and you are now part (although somewhat forcibly) of their illusion. Having gone through the portal you must now turn your attention to the projected video. In megalithic scale we view the setting sun. Our protagonists are knee deep in the ritualistic waters of a faraway landscape and they glance at one another, sip their tea and glance back at the setting sun. It all seems quite ludicrous, yet at the same time comforting. A Hollywood blockbuster would bring the strings, the high emotion and the profundity. But here our characters quietly observe the sunset and it this quietness resonates stronger with me, and hopefully for you too: In this life our rituals and strivings will all amount to this same striking scene: a silence, an absurdity, a clarity and yet not much beyond this.
Three, Two, One is best described as a value-giving exercise. Beth Dillon and James Gatt are amplifying the worth of everyday rituals. What we see as commonplace and without significance is given an artist’s blessing and it is then our turn to see afresh the value of every moment, the music of our daily rituals.
-by David Greenhalgh