Friday, May 11, 2012

Not at a Loss...

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

Presenting the latest in the sequence of drawings that have offered a modicum of focus & come to comprise the current project, the source material being photographic portraits as found as a gallery within the pages of a 1970-vintage soccer annual. The drawings are then processed with direct reference to enlarged photocopies, somewhat degraded in image quality, of these ‘originals’ as printed, reproduced, in the book, the essential subject of the drawings being this manual representation of the mechanically-produced image, with considerations of loss & difference, & time & labour. In working from these copies, the identifying text also becomes part of the image, as does, in this particular instance, the page number from the book.

The subject matter of the originals/copies cannot be ignored, of course, the images being rich in period detail & redolent of their time, particularly in the archive of hairstyles & facial hair they present: this example might be considered as being another of those that do not appear too dissimilar from those images that would be displayed in men’s barbers & hairdressers, then & beyond, perhaps the only appreciable difference being the close cropping (no pun intended in this context) applied to this photograph for the purposes of presenting it as a ‘mugshot’ in the gallery of portraits.

The statistical facts of the portrait subject Colin Prophett’s playing career, researched as has become habitual, serve to illustrate the curious manner in which memory functions, specifically & partially (to mean, perhaps, both only ‘in part’ & ‘biased’), of particular relevance to the ‘hauntological’, nostalgic tone of this current drawing project: my vivid recollection is of the player being associated with Norwich City (probably fixed by an image of him sporting their distinctive yellow & green colours, although such would already have been ‘historical’ by the time I began taking an interest in football), which indeed he was, but for one season only of a career that spanned the period 1969-1982, either side of substantial spells at Sheff(ield) Wed(nesday) & Swindon Town, & being the club amongst five for whom he actually made least appearances in a total of 430. Further research then suggests, from the available archive evidence, that in fact I would have seen Colin Prophett play for Swindon in a League Cup tie at Wrexham in December 1977, without obviously appreciating the fact or event, as the team line-ups from the official match programme serve to illustrate & verify:

Reading those lists of names, in addition to featuring arguably Wrexham’s best team of all time – certainly their most successful – it strikes me what fine players represented Swindon Town that night, including their legendary appearance record-holder & archetypal one-club man John Trollope, David Moss who went on to play for Luton with such distinction, the Northern Ireland international Trevor Anderson (against whose name I’ve written a mysterious asterix *), & other familiar names such as Steve Aizlewood, Kenny Stroud, Chris Guthrie, Ray McHale & then midfield ‘enforcer’ (shall we say), now media pundit Chris Kamara: the sense of nostalgia, as transmitted through such a match programme, an object that provides tangible evidence of the match , & the information it contains, representing these hauntological ‘ghosts’ as named, reviving them, is palpable indeed. There’s something rather nostalgia-inducing about the cover price of 15p too…

* a mysterious asterix no longer: he was substituted during the game, as Swindon Town’s online archives inform – isn’t the internet rather splendid?

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