Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape
Andy Holden
6 Dec 2012 - 2 Feb 2013

Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape is showing at Wasps Studios, Glasgow as part of Glasgow International 2016 from 8-25 April 2016. Lecture Event: 23 April 7.30pm

Read Andy Holden’s interview by Margaret Carrigan on Modern Painters, February 2017


Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape is an elaboration in space of the ideas presented in the lecture of the same name. In the lecture staged by Andy Holden together with curator Tyler Woolcott, the pair put forward an idea that we can use the laws of physics as they appear in cartoons, to help us devise a possible way of understanding the landscape “after the end of art history…a landscape where it seems like anything might be possible, but not everything is, there are rules that begin to emerge as we make observations”.

This gallery presentation, developed as the culmination of Holden’s Stanley Picker Fellowship, intends to expand on the lecture with a different approach. Here the Laws of Motion are placed in juxtaposition with new works by Holden intended to explore the multi-morphic space of cartoons as a possible interpretative framework for making sense of his recent pieces. Some of the works, such as the giant Ontograph and the slide projection Great Escape (Silhouette of Passage), relate directly to the laws and the lecture, whilst other pieces relate to the cartoon landscape through their material construction or conceptual premise. The gallery becomes a cartoon landscape whilst the cartoon landscape becomes a way for us to make sense of the works presented.

The central piece Quarry is a group of machine knitted textile replicas of rocks collected by the artist on a trip to Finland, containing tape recorded compositions of voice, environmental sound and prepared piano, emitting quietly from inside each stone. One end of the gallery is taken over by Tribute, a collection of sixty “Ornamites” on curious pallet-like plinths, works so top heavy that at times they seems to be on the edge of the Newtonian laws of gravity, and instead answering only to the cartoon laws. From a constructed projection tower we see a video interpretation of “Law 1” – Anybody suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation – a montage of cartoon characters seemingly hovering above the gallery before realising they are no longer supported and should therefore fall into the exhibition space. Here the cartoon clips become a way of thinking about the relationship between consciousness and unconsciousness, and how this might relate to the making of art.

In Chewy Cosmos (Panels to the Walls of Heaven), also projected from the large wooden tower, the splodges and smears of make-up cut from women’s magazines, are stop-animated to produce a flickering display which, like the babbling of the knitted rocks suggest and the cartoon landscape has clearly taught us, there may indeed be no such thing as an inanimate object.

Associated Events:

Advent Window & Channel 4 Screening
As part of an Advent project with the Gallery’s local residents during December 2012, Andy Holden created a special window display directly taken from his animated short Chewy Cosmos (Panels to the Walls of Heaven). Shown in full as part of his exhibition the animation – commissioned by Tate Media – was also broadcast on Channel 4 on 31 January 2013.

Laws of Motion in Cartoon Landscape Lecture
Thursday 31 January 2013 8pm Swedenborg House, London WC1
Andy Holden and Tyler Woolcott presented a developed version of The Laws of Motion in Cartoon Landscape lecture, first performed in 2011 to accompany Holden’s solo exhibition at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and subsequently at the Stanley Picker Gallery in December 2012, where wall projections and a soundtrack animated the Gallery environment. For the event at Swedenborg House, Holden produced a limited-edition of silk-screened posters, copies of which were available for purchase from the Stanley Picker Gallery.