Commodity Form
Exhibition featuring: Colin Darke & David Mabb


Colin Darke & David Mabb have known each other since 1977, first meeting as students at Goldsmiths College in London.Over the subsequent thirty years, the two artists have maintained a friendship, along with a shared commitment to socialism, which has allowed for an objective critique of each other’s art.

While their work has physically been very different (Commodity Form probably represents the point where the lines on the graph have come nearest), their approaches to art making have been closely comparable. The clearest correspondence is in their appropriation of existing forms, which they juxtapose/clash/merge in order to explore the historical and social significance of cultural production. The dialectic is central to the practice of both artists. Despite this, they have never, until now, exhibited together. Both Mabb and Darke are looking forward to the repercussions of this exchange.


The show constitutes two pieces of work, both of which consist of large series of paintings. Mabb is showing Rhythm 69, made up of sixty-nine Hans Richter/Kazimir Malevich images painted onto William Morris wallpaper. Darke’s work, The Capital Paintings, is a 480-panel oil-on-canvas series, relating to a previous text-based work, Capital.

The Golden Thread Gallery is proud to present Commodity Form, the first collaborative exhibition by Colin Darke and David Mabb.

Commodity Form, a two-person exhibition by Colin Darke and David Mabb, features two substantial bodies of work with interlinking concerns. The Capital Painting, a series of 480 paintings from Colin Darke, follows on from a previous work, Capital, which consisted of 480 found objects (laminated) onto which had been transcribed the three volumes of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. The paintings do not contain the transcriptions, but rather use the depiction of the objects to question the means of production.

Rhythm 69 is composed of a series of 70 paintings. Pages from a block-printed William Morris wallpaper pattern book from the 1960s have been glued onto individual canvases. A number of images by Hans Richter are sequentially painted onto each page from the Morris wallpaper pattern book. The Hans Richter images are from a storyboard from 1970 for a proposed animated film Rhythm 25 based on sketches by Kasimir Malevich, dating from 1927. The result is a sequential dialectical exchange between Malevich’s work as interpreted by Richter and Morris’ utopian designs.

The 550 works will be shown overlapping around the gallery space, creating a dialogue while retaining their own autonomy.

Supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council

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84- 94 Great Patrick Street,

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11am – 4pm

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