Sir Steve Redgrave

150th Anniversary Logo Press Release


Main Hall, Admission free. With the support of JPMorgan

A newly commissioned portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave - ' Sustained Endeavour ' by Dryden Goodwin - will go on show tomorrow at the National Portrait Gallery (Thursday 7 September). The portrait consists of 25 meticulous pencil drawings, based on the same photograph, displayed alongside an animated, high-definition video of the drawings played in rapid succession. The precision of the drawings parallels the oarsman's focus and training throughout his career, while the video animation accumulates the artist's draughtsmanship into a single, intense moving image, creating a kinetic portrait of Britain's greatest ever Olympic athlete.

Goodwin's approach to this commission developed out of his fascination with the mental focus and discipline that lie behind Redgrave's extraordinary achievements. Goodwin has chosen to produce a head, shoulders and torso image that shows Redgrave's unique physicality and concentrates on his intense gaze, to convey the latent energy and focus required to sustain such an epic sporting career.

The drawings are displayed in a five by five configuration representing Redgrave's five Olympic wins. In the animation each drawing becomes a frame of video played in quick succession and in multiple combinations, seamlessly repeated on a loop. This creates, in the artist's words, 'a perpetual living drawing', illustrating the moment as it moves with time. Combining still and moving images, the portrait communicates the powerful combination of mental stillness and dynamic movement required to win a race.

'I knew at the outset' says Goodwin 'that the portrait would need to involve a time-based element because Sir Steve Redgrave has such a singular relationship to time. The tremendous repetition of training, pushing against time over so many years to be the fastest has been his extraordinary achievement, and by making twenty-five detailed drawings of the same photograph, I intended to emphasize my own time investment, which becomes the key to the portrait. There is a parallel of my own feat of endurance in attempting to replicate his likeness again and again and Redgrave's sustained endeavour.'

Dryden Goodwin (b. 1971) is a London-based artist who studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. His work combines drawing with photography, film, sound and large-scale screen-based installations and captures movement, memory and the artistic process that records the passing of time. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in this country and abroad, and his most recent exhibitions include his one-man show Flight at the Chisenhale Gallery, London; Dilate at Manchester Art Gallery; Closer at Tate Britain; and group shows at the Baltic, Gateshead, Venice Biennale and British Council and Photographers Gallery touring show.

Five times Olympic Gold Medallist oarsman Sir Steve Redgrave (b. 1962) has proved himself the greatest Olympian Britain has ever produced. After striking gold in Sydney 2000 he became Britain's only athlete ever to have won Gold Medals at five consecutive Olympic Games. This achievement was made all the more remarkable because he was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997. Following his success in Sydney Redgrave was awarded a Knighthood in 2001. Since retirement in 2000, Sir Steve has turned his attention to charitable projects including most notably founding the Steve Redgrave Trust, which is dedicated to helping children achieve their full potential despite health or social deprivation.

The portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave is the fourth new work made possible through a donation by JPMorgan in 2002 that created the Fund for New Commissions. The previous three commissions - David Beckham by Sam Taylor-Wood, Dame Judi Dench by Alessandro Raho and Sir David Hare by Paula Rego - have all proved enormously popular amongst Gallery visitors.

Building on a long-term relationship of more then a decade and a half, JPMorgan is delighted to announce today that they will be donating a further £250,000 to the National Portrait Gallery to be invested in the Fund for New Commissions. This is the National Portrait Gallery's largest ever donation from a corporate supporter towards commissioning portraits. £100,000 of the fund will be set aside under the title Women of Achievement and dedicated to commissioning three new portraits over the next three years to celebrate the achievements of leading women from a variety of fields. This donation to the National Portrait Gallery shows JPMorgan's continued support of new and emerging artists and the firm's successful equity in the arts. The creation of the Women of Achievement program furthers JPMorgan's continued commitment to diversity and the empowerment of women.

Walter Gubert, chairman of JPMorgan in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) says: 'JPMorgan is committed to continued investment in the arts and to supporting work that has both artistic excellence and contemporary resonance. Our strong and continued relationship with the National Portrait Gallery helps to achieve this aim. We are proud to support the Fund for New Commissions which has made this iconic portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave possible.'

Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, says: 'Steve Redgrave is a real contemporary hero, and Dryden Goodwin's portrait captures something of the huge power of the man. We are also delighted that JPMorgan are extending their support for new commissions.'

Notes to Editors:

  • Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave CBE by Dryden Goodwin, twenty-five pencil on paper drawings, 1614 x 1162 (overall, set of framed drawings), and a video plinth with high definition animation. NPG 6766(1-25) and 6767.

For further press information please contact : Catherine Bromley, Press Officer (Projects), National Portrait Gallery, Tel 020 7321 6620 (not for publication)

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