Golden Rehearsal

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video & sound
duration: 4 min

Stations of the Cross, St Stephen Walbrook, London, 2017
Stations 2020, Arts Chaplaincy Projects, 2020

Laura Moffatt, ‘Stations of the Cross and Resurrection’, Art & Christianity, No 90, Summer 2017
Muriel Zagha, ‘From Psycho to Transcendence’, Elephant, 2017
Stations of the Cross | Stations of the Resurrection, Stations 2017, catalogue, ISBN 978-1-5272-0874-2s 

from the series Stations of the Cross

© acknowledgements:
Gloria (1980) 
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Beatles) 

Commentary by Lucy Newman Cleeve for Stations 2020

The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross

The theme of abandoned child is picked up again in Golden Rehearsal, which appropriates a clip from John Cassavetes film Gloria (1980), in which a young boy’s family is killed by the mob. Their neighbour Gloria becomes his reluctant guardian and the pair go on the run in New York. In this extract, Gloria is shown carrying the small boy on her shoulder as he sleeps — a direct allusion to Simon of Cyrene carrying Jesus’ Cross. The footage is looped and layered multiple times, so that it becomes increasingly illegible. 

The soundtrack is from the Beatles’ Get Back sessions recorded live at Twickenham Studios in 1969, shortly before the band broke up. Members of the band can be heard joking and laughing while Paul McCartney rehearses his new composition ‘Golden Slumbers’, in which the lines “Once there was a way to get back homeward” and “I will sing a lullaby” assume great poignancy. At the very end, McCartney sings the first line of ‘Carry That Weight’: “Boy, you gotta carry that weight a long time”. 

Images of death, abandonment, fear and loss combined with protectiveness, tenderness and support run through this work. The lyrics suggest sleep (or death?) as a way to get back homeward (to heaven?), and reference both the physical weight of the cross as well as the weight of the sins that Jesus bears on the cross. The camera stays zoomed in on Gloria’s face, so that she appears almost still, although it is clear that she is actually moving nervously through a busy cityscape. Similarly, the audio track focuses on McCartney’s playing, even through it is clear that there is lots of activity going on around him. Once again, Dean seems to be drawing attention to a still point in the turning world.