Darren Banks: The Palace Collection

Project for The Dictionary of Received Ideas
London | July 15-19,  2010

UK artist Darren Banks incorporates found and made film footage into sculpture and installation to explore his ideas about horror, the domestic, science fiction, defunct technologies, creation, and the unknown. He conflates high and low culture 
exploring his own perception of sculpture and its relation to film and memory. By appropriating iconic images of sculpture through the history of film and re-presenting them as his own work, Banks restructures filmic images and adds to his existing sculptural language. He establishes a dialogical relationship with these previous films through appropriation and montage. His folding of the past into the present is a strong example of how some contemporary artists are building upon the legacy of horror and creating new artistic narratives with the genre.

The Palace Collection (2010) consists of eleven VHS horror videos from the Palace Picture Distribution and Production Company, a company established in London, England (circa 1982) as a distributor for cult cinema and international art films. This 
installation negotiates collective horror history, effects of new technology, and ideas of the collection. It is also powerfully aesthetic in terms of the graphic covers and intense filmic content. Also on view is Palace Video (2005), a 6-minute video where the opening credit sequence by Palace Pictures has been manipulated into a pulsing visual collage.

By focusing the project solely on Palace Pictures and their subsidiary companies of horror video, Banks has given the overwhelming history of horror film a more approachable feel. Viewing Palace Picture videos as ephemera, he challenges the preciousness of this collection by placing it on public display as a useable resource. In regards to the ephemeral, Palace symbolizes the slow erasure of VHS and the decline of the horror movie through excessive use of CGI. The Palace Collection is a readymade gesture asking us to remember the, ‘just forgotten’ and the ‘recently redundant’.

Background on Palace Pictures
Palace Pictures was a company established in London, England around 1982 by Stephen Woolley & Nik Powell, as a distributor for cult cinema and international art films. A number of subsidiary companies were set up to cater for other media including Palace Video for the early exploding 80’s VHS & Betamax market. Throughout the 1980s, local freelance graphic designer & illustrator Graham Humphreys worked extensively with Palace on many of their most memorable UK horror campaigns such as Dream DemonBasket CaseThe Evil Dead & Evil Dead IIA Nightmare On Elm Street (parts 1 though 5), Creepers and Santa Sangre. In 1992 Palace Pictures declared bankruptcy.

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