Music makes sense of the world. It’s an infinite black hole, taking whatever we throw at it. War, politics, disaster, love, hate, birth, death – all human experience is pitched its way, processed and broadcast back to us in ways we can understand.
For his third solo exhibition at Hang-Up, artist Tim Fishlock celebrates his deep love of music and record
collecting. Continuing his established practice working with text, Fishlock explores the esoteric world of
online record collecting with a particular focus on the unique lexicon involved in describing music. He
unpicks the coded vocabulary used to concisely explain a record, illuminating both the exclusionary and
evocative nature of these explanations.
“Descriptions such as LUSH DESPAIRING DARK WAVE not only go some way to deciphering a record
(dark wave is the genre) they also, like the best flash fiction, suggest other, more elaborate interpretations. Who
hasn’t felt the metaphorical, melancholic crash of a lush, despairing, dark wave at some point in their lives?”
The works are almost synesthetic, using language as a tool to evoke sound. Fishlock acknowledges the intrinsic distance between a sound and how it may be described, yet he celebrates this space, leaving the viewer to interpret the music within. In many ways, he is inviting us into this sometimes-exclusionary world of self-confessed music geeks and celebrating an eclectic community through an understanding of music as a great unifier.
“Back in the day, certain record store clerks would revel in their status as gatekeepers and go out of their way to make you feel like a dick for not knowing your Miami bass from your footwork. Nowadays of course, you can do your learning and make your own musical connections online.”
Despite being a visual artist, Fishlock argues music is the ultimate art form as it has the foremost power to
“reflect the times; to galvanise’ to provide relief, release and understanding”. He contends that unlike even the most
wonderful creative works in other forms, music has the most significant power to connect and is something
we carry with us like a fond memory.
Sixteen brand new paintings will elegantly line Hang-Up’s stunning canal side space, each taking on a
different genre or record close to Fishlock’s heart. They will be accompanied by QR codes linking the
viewer to personal descriptions of the resonances these tracks hold for Fishlock and allowing for an
immersive multi-sensory experience of listening and viewing simultaneously. The exhibition thus conjures
a multi-dimensional environment and welcomes the uninitiated into the subculture of online record
enthusiasts while providing a welcome retreat for the music fanatic.
“DOOM LADEN AMEN ROLLER for instance, is indecipherable without knowing that the word AMEN refers to the four-bar drum break on the 1969 track Amen, Brother by the soul group The Winstons. This is the most sampled break in the history of music and forms the basis of lots of early hip hop and the backbone to thousands of jungle and drum and bass tunes. ROLLER means a consistent loop of bass and/or drums that roll over and over throughout the track. DOOM-LADEN more obviously suggests the mood. So, from those four words I know I can expect a dark, rolling drum and bass record in the style of say, Ed Rush.”
During the exhibition a limited-edition print will be released and available at a special price to celebrate the show. Fishlock has also created two Spotify playlists; HEAD and FEET as introductions to the music that soundtracks his life. The BPM (beats per minute) increase incrementally with each song in the FEET playlists.
Alongside this will be a new edition of Fishlock’s much loved THE POEM WILL RESEMBLE YOU
spinning wheel of fortune. The piece allows the viewer to generate their own poetry through the fairground
style act of spinning the wheel. It is at once emotive and lyrical while rejoicing in playful silliness. Each
ring of the wheel spins at its own pace, creating a discombobulating visual and offering a dizzying 32,768
potential permutations of the slogans.
Over the past five years, Fishlock has taken on an in-depth exploration of the world of words and language across installation, sculpture, painting, and design. He is passionate about the idea of saying as much as possible in as few words as possible which led him to an interest in the cut-up technique. This being an exercise heralded by William Boroughs and Tristian Tzara of the Dadaists. The process involves literally cutting up text to create new assemblages and meanings. It is largely an automatic and subconscious practice, allowing access to an original understanding of the power and capabilities of language. When he became familiar with the kinds of descriptions employed in the online record collecting community, he considered them as a kind of cut-up – collections of words to evoke something much more which do not conform to ordinary semantics or semiotics. This project is thus both an extension of a lengthy investigation and an entirely new take on music and its enthusiasts.
“Like Velcro, music and memories marry - interlocking through hooks and loops. Music is defined by the way it fastens people, ideas and movements together.”
This timely exhibition creates a space for the connection, creativity, and shared experiences that we have
been deprived of over the last few years. It invites the record collecting community and all those who love
music to put down their headphones and find unity in their shared passion.
“Music makes sense of the world. It’s an infinite black hole, taking whatever we throw at it. War, politics, disaster, love, hate, birth, death – all human experience is pitched its way, processed and broadcast back to us in ways we can understand.
Music embraces, co-opts and masters new technology to produce life- affirming art. When was the last time you saw a piece of digital art in a gallery that truly moved you?
Music invented teenagers. Music makes drugs work.
And with the right sound system, music physically hits you (though as Bob Marley sings, ‘you feel no pain’ when it does). The bassline reverberates through you. If your chest ain’t rattling, it ain’t happening.
Outside of my family and friends, the thing I’m most grateful for is my passion
for music. I lose myself in it. I find myself in it.”
London based artist Tim Fishlock creates bright typographic paintings inspired by our love/hate relationship with social media and uneasy alliance with modern technology. A graduate from Goldsmiths, he began his career making commercial art installations, moving on to high-profile projects including limited-edition print portfolio releases and a book made with Hollywood screenwriter Josh Weinstein. His current work sits well with his other pieces: intricate collages of repeating motifs and satisfyingly tactile sculptures of metallic ice creams.
With many thanks to our partners
24 Aug 2022 – 21 Oct 2022
16 May 2022 – 30 Jun 2022
17 Jan 2022 – 1 Mar 2022