Artwork of the Week – Nancy Davenport


Liverpool artwork of the week 37. Still from Workers (leaving the factory) by Nancy Davenport at Open Eye for Liverpool Biennial 20 September – 30 November 2008

Open Eye Gallery presents a newly commissioned video installation by Canadian artist Nancy Davenport, shown alongside earlier parts of her evolving project Workers (leaving the factory), which was conceived in 2004.

Shot at the Jaguar car plant in Halewood, Merseyside, Davenport’s new piece focuses on the assembly line and the workers’ daily drive to the plant. Against the background of Ford’s recent sale of Jaguar to Indian Conglomerate Tata, the piece reflects on changing conditions and representations of industrial production. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, it proposes that to search for reality we must look not beyond but within fantasy and illusion.

Despite her fascination with moving images, Davenport describes herself as a photographer. Her new piece features an animated sequence of the Jaguar assembly line constructed from digital stills – a hybrid of video and photography. Davenport was inspired by two cult car films of the 1970s: British Sounds (Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Henri Roger), famous for its ten-minute tracking shot of an MG assembly line, and C’etait un rendezvous (Claude Lelouch), a frantic eight-minute Ferrari drive through the streets of Paris.