Slugtown are pleased to present Cosmic Dancer by Rosie McGinn and Reuben Kyriakides. Working in collaboration for the first time, the exhibition includes a large kinetic sculpture of Billy Elliot and a series of small watercolours by McGinn, and a quadrophonic sound composition by Kyriakides.
Underlying McGinn’s practice is an interest in the human tendency to chase moments of ecstasy and euphoria. In the context of the last few years, these moments became few and far between. The escapism inherent in group hysteria momentarily disappeared, and our restless natures have adapted to find quieter forms of distraction.
In the centre of the space is Billy (2022) a lifesize puppet of young Billy Elliot taken from the eponymous film from 2000. The sculpture is taken from the scene with the aspiring dancer dancing on the roof, clicking his heels together, shoving two fingers up to the world as his brother watches from behind their net curtains. Finding the ultimate escapism through dance.
Alongside the sculptural element of the installation is a quadrophonic sound composition made by Reuben Kyriakides. Over the period of making, the sound composition has changed considerably from its original iteration. Made initially under the constraints of lockdown, the composition reflected the atmosphere of the moment; quiet, brooding and intense. What followed was an extended period of delays for the opening of the gallery, and Billy sat lonely and lifeless in the studio.
Returning to the composition after a break, and in a new headspace, the sound piece took on a new shape; more playful, joyous and optimistic. The piece samples audio from the film, as well as family karaoke sessions, boxing matches, tap dancing, piano and a Tchaikovsky waltz.
Along the wall accompanying Billy in the space are a number of small, postcard sized watercolours by McGinn. The watercolours depict characters from Billy’s life as they appear in the film; his mum, his grandma, Michael, Debbie, Mrs Wilkinson and his dad.
Rosie McGinn (b. 1993, London) is an artist living and working in London. Recent exhibitions include Contemplating My Navel, Castor Gallery, London, 2021; Biggus Icarus, Lewisham Arthouse, London, 2021; OBLIVION, PALFREY, London, 2021; SNOB, Recent Activity, Birmingham, 2019; GET IN THERE [with OOF Magazine], Tate Exchange, London, 2019; The Boléro, ArtLacuna, London, 2019.
Reuben Kyriakides (b. 1994, Essex) is a sound artist, musician and composer, living in London and working with sound in as many ways as he can. Reuben performs as Electric Womb with friend Curly Mouth, and makes jungle under the alias Levi Draper. He has recently composed soundtracks for artist Mitch Vowles, and is touring with Goat Girl and Shephali Frost.