The Dream of Putrefaction - curated by Dereck Harris

Michelangelo Antonioni / Jennifer Allen / Amanda Beech
Luke Caulfield / Sean Dawson / Kirsten Glass / Dereck Harris
Marcus Harvey / Anton Henning / Josie McCoy / Marilyn Minter
Jos Richardson / Gavin Tremlett / William Tuck

The superficial and ephemeral nature of our relationship with mass-mediated popular culture directs us to the surface gloss of the page or screen, which itself becomes the signifier in an abstract pictorialism.

Each of the artists included in the exhibition make image based work derived from a second-order popular cultural source: tv / magazines / advertising which also engages with a level of abstraction (or non-signification). Adopting a technique of sampling and collage these works reflect on our media-saturated environment to reach a stark conclusion: We can’t get no satisfaction.

We experience an un-ending sequence of unfulfilled promises, as a hyperreal world of information-excess seeks to tempt us with one commodity or another. Loosely located within the post-pop art context, the selected artists share an attitude of indifference to over-stimulated signification, where technological depiction connotes blankness and results in an un-ending cycle of desire-led-consumption. The juxtapositions of figures and passages of abstraction blur critique and objectification, as an abstract pictorialism emerges as a common language. There are echoes in this juxtaposition in Michelangelo Antonioni’s progressive film "The Red Desert” (1964). The film usefully contrasts desire and disassociation as we witness the beautiful and distracted Monica Vitti wandering aimlessly through the technologically ‘formalised’ landscape of artificial colour. She is in a state of emotional immunity to the chaos of her dehumanised and alienating environment. The neutrality of this juxtaposition suggests a commentary which Antonioni’s aesthetic articulates; one of seductive corruption.

The works in this show frame appropriated images from the world of media saturation in a space emptied of social or temporal signification, this is the simulated space of the hyperreal where the rational scrutiny of the image’s meaning is corrupted by its opaque immediacy.

What results from this hybridized and denatured form of representation?

We are left with a continuous dream of putrefaction.