"...the works that stand out in the show are those that are most fully resolved: Ana Genoves 'Sand Dune' and Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's CD 'Never More Than This', which is possibly the most interesting work here because it problematizes this very 'artist-as-pop-star' syndrome by taking it to its logical, and pitiful, extreme. The CD is born of the notion that educational establishments are not 'critical shelters' any more: they can only reflect (rather than reflect upon) contemporary culture."
Never More Than This installation view: Cornerhouse Manchester
New Contemporaries, an annual showcase of cutting edge ideas by students and recent graduates from the UK's art schools, was selected in 1997 from over 1,200 applications by international curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, cultural theorist Dr. Sarat Maharaj and artist Gillian Wearing. The featured artists were:
Javier Flores Blanquet, Jemima Brown, Sarah Dobai, Keith Farquhar, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Ana Genoves, Chris Gibbons, Pedro Gomes, Dryden Goodwin, Brian Cyril Griffiths, Len Horsey, Katherine Mckee, Seamus Nicolson, O (Amy Cheung), Steve Ouditt, Frankie Sinclair, Stephen Stephen
The resulting exhibition toured the UK throughout 1997 and featured Never More Than This, an audio CD project by Iain and Jane. Visitors to the exhibition were able to hear the disc at listening stations located within the galleries. The single was also cover-mounted on the exhibition catalogue.
"Obviously, the next step for many artists working in and around the pop arena is the production of their own music. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard have made a CD single, Never More Than This, as their contribution to this year's New Contemporaries exhibition; directing a group of musicians into making a boy bandesque track that belies their status as total indie kids and offers dance remixes. Unnervingly polished, it is their first attempt at writing songs."
Described as "dum-dum music" by The Evening Standard's Brian Sewell and a "mediocre pop CD" by Adrian Searle in The Guardian, the single gained radio play from Greater Manchester Radio, BBC Radio Scotland and Kiss FM.
"Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard have created a work that breaks many of the prevailing assumptions about visual art. It is an aural piece, it is endlessly reproducible, and involved in the artists becoming producers of a mainstream commodity. They made an audio CD - a pop song. Compact discs do not degrade as copies are drawn, thus countering the notion of artwork as valuable because of its singularity. Like all pop music, it is intended to be accessible to a lay public rather than a specialised minority. However, Iain and Jane's status as visual artists makes their appropriation of the processes of production an interesting exercise. By drawing from youth culture and their own adolescence as pop music fans, and by taking on the tasks of learning how to dissect and reproduce something which fulfills the criteria of the pop music industry, they played the roles of entrepreneur, performer and producer simultaneously. It is not so much a critique of the pop music industry as an exploration of it, and perhaps one of the most playful and self-conscious manifestations of the artist-as-pop-star syndrome."
CCA Exhibitions Guide: Never More Than This
Beck's New Contemporaries
May - July 1997
Camden Arts Centre
August - September 1997
Centre for Contemporary Arts
December 1997 - January 1998