Protest is Beautiful
Freee (Dave Beech, Andy Hewitt, Mel Jordan)

1000 000 mph is proud to present Freee's first solo show in London, profiling existing and new works that engage with contemporary political and social realities, critically addressing and using the format of public art. Dave Beech, Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan work collaboratively as Freee, an art collective working on cultural strategies for a counter-hegemonic art. Intentionally and explicitly critiquing the use of art for social and political agendas in contemporary Britain, their work includes publicly staged interventions and art works, often using their bodies, prominent public sites and written signs, video shown on inner city BBC Big Screens, text works on full sized billboard sites and critical writing on aesthetics and politics. Their style borrows from historical protest art, the history of avant-garde strategies, and the traditions of political dissent, using hand-written, hand held signs, flyposters, as well as a 'sit-in'. At the same time Freee use mass media forms, like Big Screens, YouTube, and billboards, producing advertising posters that look deceptively corporate in design.

In this exhibition works include: Protest is Beautiful, a new work made from a funeral wreath in letters of yellow silk flowers, photographed and mounted on plywood outside the gallery, appearing as shop sign. Both a melancholic lament and reminder and iconic public message in the style of shopping or advertising. Inside Don’t let the media have a monopoly on the freedom of speech, 2007 a new work as a direct message in a photograph pasted on a large installation wall, while How to talk to public art, 2006 is a video of a dissenting tour of Manchester’s public artworks. Instead of being subject to the secret codes of public art, the citizen addresses commemorative monuments in terms of jokes and histories, with the intention of highlighting the public life that goes on around public art, for example ‘Is it me or do monarchs have an unfair advantage when being seen or heard?’ or ‘There are no exerts on happiness’. Another new video work is included, Public space, public realm, public sphere, 2007 in which the three chant, like a choir or kindergarten class, theoretical attacks on dominant conceptions of the public.

Curated by Esther Windsor.