Adam Dant – The People Who Live On The Plank

Adam DantImport Export, 2003Ink on paper, 244x244cm Installation at The Drawing Room



Drawing Room launched its new space at Laburnum Street, Hackney, with an exhibition of British artist Adam Dant. The exhibition included a series of eight foot drawings entitled The People who live on the Plank and a new drawing commissioned by Drawing Room, Import Export. The subject of the new drawing are the objects that link the cities of Lagos and London, the anecdotes they trigger and how these have shaped the social geography of the two cities. The production process involved a large number of participants in gathering, recounting, collating and expressing their experiences which fed into the final drawing.

In the series The People Who Live on The Plank, vignettes of interconnected narratives are presented in roundels which diminish in size through the series. These intricate drawings, whilst reminiscent of old-fashioned comic books or medieval illuminated manuscripts, are timeless, like the human folly they depict. Each roundel details scenes of public, living or working spaces, usually filled with people engaged in activities that range from the humdrum to the bizarre. These drawings are heir to William Hogarth's popular satirical prints of the 18th Century, in which all manner of folly and vice was paraded before viewers for their amusement and supposed moral edification. Dant's explorations of the vagaries of humanity are, however, narratives lacking any kind of resolution, moral or otherwise, whilst the strain of malevolence makes clear that they represent a jibe at contemporary values and life styles.

Adam Dant, who lives in Hackney, is probably best known as the creator of Donald Parsnips' Daily Journal, a comic-strip pamphlet he drew, photocopied and handed out to passers by in London or wherever he travelled between 1995-99. Donald Parsnip also appeared as a weekly column in the Independent on Sunday. He created 'The Anecdotal Plan of Tate Britain' for Tate Magazine in 2001 and won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2002. He has exhibited worldwide, with solo exhibitions in Paris and New York and his drawings, installations and other artworks are in the collections of the Arts Council of England, The Museum of London, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and numerous other public and private collections.

This exhibition was funded by The Moose Foundation for the Arts and The Elephant Trust.

This was Adam Dant's first solo exhibition in the UK. It toured to Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre from 27 September – 5 December 2003 and the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 13 December 2003 – 7 February 2004.