This book is called Much Obliged for two reasons. The first is that it is what Stephen’s dad says when he has been served in shops. The second is because Stephen has noticed that he only does things to stop himself letting people down.
Joe Brainard’s I Remember is the inspiration for Stephen Sutcliffe’s similarly constructed assemblage of loosely connected reminiscences, each containing a reference to ‘Stephen’. John Ashbery described Brainard’s writing as ‘humane smut’, and, drawing on the comedy of childhood, experience of work, and school friends, as well as family snapshots and Stephen’s own collages, Much Obliged finds a similar tone, firmly rooted in class, the challenge to authority, self-doubt and self-deprecation.
Stephen Sutcliffe was born in Harrogate in 1968 and studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee and Glasgow School of Art / Cal Arts Valencia, California. He now lives and works in Glasgow. Best known for his video collage work Sutcliffe has been awarded the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award (2015) and the Margaret Tait Award (2012). Recent solo exhibitions include: Sex Symbols in Sandwich Signs, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2017); Twixt Cup and Life, the Hepworth, Wakefield (2016); Going Over, Rob Tufnell, London (2015) and Outwork and Workings Out, Tramway, Glasgow (2013). Sutcliffe’s solo exhibition High Windows, Dead Birds is on show at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart 08/06–15/09/2019