LONDON, ENGLAND.- The Serpentine Gallery presents Oliver Payne & Nick Relph, on view through October 2, 2005. British artists Oliver Payne and Nick Relph chronicle contemporary culture through their eclectic style of film-making, which is part documentary, part music video, part surveillance tape and part video diary.
Brought up in west London, they became friends as teenagers and first came to critical attention with a trilogy of engaging and at times satirical films. The first, Driftwood, 1999, is a journey through the chaotic streets of central London and draws attention to the collision between the rules of public spaces and their use by alternative street cultures. In House and Garage, 2000, the artists turned their attention to the outskirts of London where they grew up. The last in the trilogy, Jungle, 2001, moves to rural Britain and explores the film-makers' own preconceptions about the countryside.
The dynamic relationship between sound and images in their work is exemplified in Mixtape, 2002, which is set to Terry Riley's version of the song You're No Good. Multi-layered soundtracks are also integral to their work: Gentlemen, 2003, combines drums, Morse Code and a poetic narrative about corporate appropriation of youth culture. This is played over abstract images of lights and Christmas decorations filmed in London's Carnaby Street, a location increasingly homogenized by multinational chains.
Winners of the Golden Lion for Best Artists Under 35 at the Venice Biennale in 2003, and nominated for the Beck's Futures award in 2002, Payne and Relph have collaborated since the late 1990s. This exhibition at the Serpentine, the first devoted to the artists in a UK public gallery, will survey their videos to date, including Comma, Pregnant Pause, 2004, created on the occasion of the 2004-5 Carnegie International exhibition in Pittsburgh, as well as including new work created this year.