'It's not easy' and 'Walking Man'

  • Location: South African National Gallery
  • From: October 7, 2008     To: March 22, 2009
‘It’s not easy’ and ‘Walking Man’

Walking Man (2008), by Charles Maggs and It’s not easy (2004), by Ed Young, are videos in which the artists assimilate elements of popular culture, appropriating material from the rich reservoir of visual material provided by the cinematic media and subverting the roles of film icons of movie history.

In It’s not easy, Young re-edits footage from Superman films to refashion the hero into a real man who is wracked by anger, despair and self-doubt and is progressively reduced to a drunken shadow of his former self. The film plays to a soundtrack of the same title by American band Five for Fighting, whose song became a hit anthem in the United States following the attacks of September 2001. Charles Maggs, in Walking Man, likewise isolates and reinterprets material taken from James Bond films, with Roger Moore as the protagonist. Triggering the involuntary memory of the viewer, who never sees his face, the video raises issues around space and time and evokes the concept of the eternal return. The music is a remix of French glitch-pop pioneer O. Lamm’s ‘Bed of the Cylinder in Three Concentric Zones’ by Sutekh.

In 2008, It’s not easy was exhibited at the Hayward Gallery, London, together with work by the Mexican artist, Artemio.


Pam Warne
Tel: +27 (0)21 467 4671
Email: pwarne@iziko.org.za.

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