Laurent Delaye Gallery, London
15 Jan – 27 Feb 1999

Roy Exley, ‘Mark Dean: Dust’, Untitled, No. 18, Spring 1999
Sue Hubbard, ‘Mark Dean: Laurent Delaye Gallery’, Time Out No. 1076, February 1999

exhibited works:




The End (Mad Max + 90 x 4)





Untitled (My Way Home+-, resting pulse)





New Life (Frankenstein drawn & quartered)


‘Dust constitutes a complex body of interrelating works dealing with subtle observations on rebirth and self-replication, in which death becomes the inseparable other.

Untitled (My Way Home+-, resting pulse) takes as its starting point a trilogy of autobiographical films by Bill Douglas which represent the childhood and youth of the filmmaker, born into poverty, and ending with his introduction to art through a relationship with a more experienced man. However, Mark Dean has unearthed a biography beyond the narrative of the film. When Bill Douglas embarked on his trilogy, he travelled back to his birthplace in search of an actor to play himself. At a bus stop he met the young Stephen Archibald, whom, in a strange repetition, he initiated into the world of art as the star of his films. “Of course, the inevitable had happened and he wanted to act for the rest of his days” wrote Douglas. Unlike the character he played however, Stephen Archibald did not escape his childhood home, and died last year in unknown circumstances following a life punctuated by illness, drugs and imprisonment. Earlier, he had said: “I always waited on Bill coming back with another film. And then he died and my film career was finished. I’ll never make another one”. Stephen Archibald as Bill Douglas as Mark Dean hovers on the threshold of sleep and death, with the breath of life occasionally rippling through him. His is an existence of endless, looped suspension, a life on hold not allowed to evolve. The dissolving frames have been slowed down to such an extent that the sparks of dust are the most tangible indication that time, after all, is passing.

New Life (Frankenstein drawn & quartered) echoes a scene from the original Frankenstein movie, in which Victor Frankenstein, intent on creating a being in his own image, has entered a graveyard under cover of darkness to dig up a body for his creature. He clutches the coffin of the appropriated corpse, and says, “He’s just resting, waiting for a new life to come.” With the original sound and vision drawn out to the edge of animation, Frankenstein endlessly metamorphoses into an anticipation of his own future creation. A sensation situated between nihilo, fear and existence is amplified by the scale of the modern Promethean endeavour, and the eerie implications of this new life. Also constructed from the dust of the past, the child as the fabricated double of the artist thus tragically transpires as yet another Frankenstein’s monster.

Reflecting these works are Autobiography (Mother’s Pie Wagon/S’cool Bus/Garbage Truck/Beer Wagon/Boot Hill Hearse) and Self Portrait (Frankenstein’s Flivver/revillF s’nietsneknarF). These painted pieces are assembled from model car parts exhumed from the artist’s glue-sniffing childhood, and reconstructed in the light of experience.

Beginning the show is The End (Mad Max + 90 x 4), projecting the final fading moments of the post-apocalyptic road movie into infinity.’