Rodney Graham: HOW I BECAME A RAMBLIN' MAN
17 November–16 December 2001
“Graham throws himself between high and low and does not shy away from slapstick effects. He is interested in the relationship between nature and civilization and often examines clichés of language, thought and presentation. Index now shows a video work from 1999. ‘How I Became a Ramblin´ Man’ is an artfully edited loop making up a nine-minute piece, in which a man alternately sings to guitar playing and alternately rides towards a magnificent pattern of blue mountains on the horizon. The singing rider turns out to be the artist himself, and the scenography is surely his Canadian wilderness.
As before, Rodney Graham develops Freud’s idea of compulsion to repeat. The rider gets off the horse, sings on a fallen tree trunk, sits up with the guitar on his back and rides over the river bed, between the trees and over the fields, then turns back the same way, swings back out of the saddle and starts singing on the tree trunk, and so on. The story moves like a braid. But I do not get tired of it, even though I understood a long time ago that the point is the compulsive repetition in contrast to the myth of liberated male wilderness heroism. Ramble means to wander around. Yet the man and the horse tick around in a circle, as mechanically as the hands on a clock.”
Translated quote from DN, 2001-11-24, Ingela Lind. Read full text in Swedish.