Scorpio Rising 2 (The Gospel according to St Matthew/Hells Angels on Wheels)

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video & sound
duration: 130 min

Instantaneous, Beaconsfield, London, 1998
About Belief, South London Gallery, London, 2002
Scorpio Rising 2, The Church of the Holy Trinity & St Mary, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 2007
Mark Dean: The Beginning of The End, Beaconsfield, London, 2010
St Phillip’s Church, Salford, 2012  (in conjunction with Brittle Crazie Glasse)
ANDOR Gallery London, 2012
Modern Art Oxford, 2014

David Crawforth, Instantaneous, Beaconsfield, London, 1998, Catalogue
Neal Brown, ‘Instantaneous: Beaconsfield, London’, Frieze, June 1998
Tamsin Dillon, ‘Twice Upon a Time’, Filmwaves, 1/2002
JJ Charlesworth, ‘About Belief’, Contemporary, October 2002
Scorpio Rising 2, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, book and DVD project, 2002 (unpublished due to copyright issues)
Film on Film, Berwick upon Tweed Film & Media Arts Festival, Catalogue, ISBN 978-0-9551203-1-2, 2007,
David Curtis, A History of Artist’s Film and Video in Britain, BFI Publishing, London, ISBN 1-84457-096-7, 2007
Helen Gheourgiou Gould, ‘Reimagining the Gospels’, ƒranciscan, January 2013

© acknowledgements:
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) 
Hells Angels on Wheels (1967) 

Scorpio Rising 2 was produced in 1997 as a kind of remake of Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising, 1963, a seminal work in the history of both appropriation and the use of popular music in film and video. Scorpio Rising mixes Anger’s own biker gang footage with found imagery, including a Bible movie which, according to Anger, was misdelivered to his doorstep while he was in the process of editing. Anger’s work was informed by his engagement with the occultism of Aleister Crowley, and thus his appropriation of religious imagery was a deliberate inversion of meaning.

Scorpio Rising 2 mixes biker and biblical footage by presenting two entire films (Richard Rush’s Hells Angels on Wheels, and Pasolini’s Gospel According to St Matthew) simultaneously, on a split-screen. By making no edits to this source material, apart from the split-screen process, Dean intended to return the balance of interpretation towards the median, as compared to Anger’s polemical intercutting. In doing so, he was not taking a neutral position as regards meaning; the choice of subject matter was specific, as registered by the text of the subtitles. However, the artist is interested in the kind of meaning that can arise when authorship is surrendered to a process.

A decade before, Andy Warhol had mixed images of Jesus and motorcycles in this painting from his Last Supper series (1986).

But before Warhol’s painting, or even Anger’s film, there was the 59 Club, founded by The Revd Bill Shergold in London in 1959, and now the largest motorcycle club in the world.