Graham Dolphin

Graham Dolphin born 1972 in Stafford, UK, lives and works in Newcastle, UK.


Graham Dolphin remakes the public shrines and tributes made by fans as memorials to dead rock stars. The objects and sites chosen as the site of veneration are often arbitrary – a rock near the place Gram Parson's body was burned, the back door to Freddie Mercury's garden flat. The symbolism of the objects the fans choose though is ripe for an artists interpretation. Gram Parson's rock in the desert recalls paintings of Saint Jerome's penitence. Mercury's door becomes a portal to the afterlife. Fans make pilgrimages to these sites seeking the stars aura in physical remnants left behind by, or strongly associated with them. As with saintly relics, or fragments of the true cross, they are an attempt to make tangible the intangible. Saints relics – jaw bones, fingers, handkerchiefs – are displayed in churches as objects of veneration and devotion, where worshippers leave notes of thanks and prayers to the saints. The fans shrines are direct descendants of these relics. Dolphin's interest is not in making replicas or facsimiles. The fans shrines are living artifacts, constantly changing and being added to. Dolphin makes a version of them, he wants the sculptural object to become itself, not a copy.


Dolphin works with many different media, both drawings, painting and sculptures. He makes drawings depicting the imagined last view of iconic musicians. He makes gates and doors but denies them their function leaving them fluctuating between sculptures and paintings. Video is also incorporated as to create a place of dialogue between different artists. The composer Sun Ra (1914-93) and the composer Moondog (1916-99) are placed back to back in Dolphin’s piece ‘Sun Moon Sun’. Playing on the fictional names and biographies of these two avantgarde musicians, the film shows the waxing and waning of the sun and moon, from day to night, light to dark. The visual collage of the musicians is mirrored in the audio remixing and layering of the composers’ works, the apparent chaos of sound and image settles into a drone and trance feeling, present at the heart of both musicians’ works.


Selected solo exhibitions include shows at Tyneside Cinema Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2016); Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK (2016); Stockholm Music & Art, Stockholm, SE (2014); Lorna Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Texas, US (2013); David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, DK (2012); Seventeen, London, UK (2012); Växjö Konsthall, Växjö, SE (2011); Regina Gallery, Moscow, RU (2011); Baltic Gateshead, Gateshead, UK (2007). His work has been shown at KIASMA, Helsinki, National Museum Norway, Oslo, Dublin Contemporary Biennale, Ceri Hand, Liverpool, Turner Contemporary, Margate. 


Selected group shows include In the pines - sligt return, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, DK (2016); Brink, CGP London, UK (2016); On The Immense and the Numberless, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, DK (2016); The Curves of the Needle, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Baltic 39), Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2015); Swansea (Track 10), Art Across the City, Swansea, UK (2015); The Secret Self, NEST, The Hague, NL (2015); Reverb, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, US (2014); Tip Of The Iceberg, Contemporary Art Society, London, UK (2013)


His works are in the collections of Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (UK), Zabludowicz Art Trust (UK), Viktor & Rolf (UK), David Roberts (UK), Kevin Smith (UK), Jerry Speyer (US), CCA Andratx Art Centre (ES), Ole Faarup (DK), Asbæk Art consulting (DK), West Collection (US), Loewe Foundation (ES), Hope Collection (US), Museum Weisbaden (DE).