David Batchelor’s work is concerned above all things with colour, a sheer delight in the myriad brilliant hues of the urban environment and underlined by a critical concern with how we see and respond to colour in this advanced technological age. His studio is a treasure trove piled high with an endless variety of fluorescent plastic objects – clothes pegs, fly-swatters, buckets, spades, children’s toys, empty bottles of household products – found in pound shops and markets in cities the world over. He combines these everyday items with a range of light-industrial materials: steel shelving, commercial lightboxes, neon tubing, warehouse dollies, acrylics, plastics and so on to produce extraordinary installations which exalt the ordinary and celebrate the lurid and trashy whilst being, in themselves, often mesmerisingly beautiful.
David Blandy’s work deals with his problematic relationship with popular culture, highlighting the slippage and tension between fantasy and reality in everyday life. Either as a white man mouthing the words to the underground soul classic “Is it because Im black” in “hollow bones” (2001), or being taught how to make art by the deceased martial arts star Bruce Lee in “emotional content” (2003), Blandy is searching for his cultural position in the world. He often uses humour to ask the difficult question of just how much the self is formed by the mass-media of records, films and television, and whether he has an identity outside that.
Doug Fishbone’s installation, video and performance works place the viewer in an awkward position where we are forced to explore our interpretative resources. In previous videos and performances the artist ransacked the internet and mostly Google Image Search – to illustrate and undermine his arresting, repulsive and undeniably amusing monologues on contemporary media and our cultural, social and political (sub)life. His work weaves elaborate narrative and visual tapestries from familiar freely found imagery that question the way information is presented, manipulated and processed in the current cultural and visual landscape. Interested in the politics of representation the artistís monologues constantly shift, narrating grey areas between our perceived notions of fact and fiction, myth and propaganda, comedy and advertising.
This event was organised in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society’s Consultancy Department who are currently working with David Batchelor on a major new project for the Lyric Hammersmith.
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