ZieherSmith is pleased to present the New York debut of British artist Matt Stokes, winner of the 2006 Beck’s Futures Prize. The gallery will be screening Stokes’s award winning film, Long After Tonight, accompanied by film stills and other related photographs. Together, the works relate the anthropological nature of Stokes’s practice and his interest in collective social experiences, particularly in relation to musis sub-cultures.

Long After Tonight is a film recreating a classic Northern Soul night at a Gothic Revivalist Church in Dundee, Scotland. Northern Soul refers to a primarily 1970s trend in Northern Britain, where people would gather to dance through the night to obscure American soul records. The dancing style was autonomous and athletic in nature. Stokes recreates a moment in this era using original participants. Though such events actually took place in the church’s accompanying hall, the artist sets his film in the nave’s Gothic interior, heightening the sense that such raves were religious experiences in their own right. Originally shot in 16mm, the piece features rich, dark colors and stunning cinematography, accompanied by a moody, hypnotic soundtrack.

Three types of photographs accompany the showing of Long After Tonight. A set of four images printed directly from the original film juxtapose relics from the church with the graceful pose of one dancer and the screaming visage of another. Three photographs taken during the film’s production literally highlight the behind the scenes, featuring decorative details of a tattooed torso of a "soul brother," the back of a patch-adorned participant, and a grand shot from the rear of the church during filming. Finally, four portraits were taken of individuals during the warm-up session, which took place in the original dancehall. The uncanny stillness of the three images is further heightened by the fourth portrait of a figure in a twirling handstand.

The film was awarded the Beck’s Futures Prize by a panel including Martin Creed, Gillian Wearing, and the Chapman Brothers. Judge Yinka Shonibare stated that the piece was "not only socially engaging but also very beautiful," adding: "The work is in one way nostalgic, as it recreates a particular moment in the history of rave culture and Northern Soul. It is work that the audience can identify with, it captures a fascinating ritual and gives it a sense of collective euphoria" (The Independent, May 3, 2006).

Installation View: Matt Stokes, ZieherSmith

Installation View: Matt Stokes, ZieherSmith

Installation View: Matt Stokes, ZieherSmith


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