The Memory Industry

Untitled 2008, (c)Darren Nixon
Untitled 2008, (c)Darren Nixon

“One of the reasons I source mainly from newspaper, television and internet imagery is because the way we interact with these media shapes so many of our opinions about the world around us. Most of what I know about the world has been drawn in a fairly disjointed and fragmentary fashion from this huge, seemingly ever present sea of information.

The sheer amount of available knowledge is so overwhelming that I end up feeling always frustrated that I know nothing about anything. Not knowing what I should be spending my time getting to know, I end up with a constant sense of only ever partially understanding even the most important current and historical events.

I am impelled by a great fascination but end up mostly confused about which direction to allow my fascination to lead me in the time I have. Although partial understanding can be frustrating and isolating, it does carry its own qualities. As events become jumbled and confused in our minds a kind of magical haze is thrown over everything. We start to create our own narratives, filling in the gaps between what we pick up from various sources with any number of unreliable memories and opinions.” Darren Nixon

Darren’s central theme of ‘not knowing’ brings up issues of ‘not remembering’ and when applied on a global scale, this “magical haze” created by the fragmented reality of media overload, threatens our formation of collective memories; memories we experience as part of a culture and a society, memories which connect our identity to the cultural experience of a larger social group.

In art since 1900, Benjamin Buchloh makes this encouraging statement in the final roundtable discussion, “The Predicament of Contemporary Art”: “…the effort to retain or to reconstruct the capacity to remember, to think historically, is one of the few acts that can oppose the almost totalitarian implementation of the universal laws of consumption…”

However, he concludes with this condemnation, “…to deliver the aesthetic capacity to construct memory images to the voracious demands of an apparatus that entirely lacks the ability to remember and to reflect historically, and to do so in the form of resuscitated myth, is an almost guaranteed route to success in the present art world, especially with its newly added wing of “the memory industry”. Chilling.

Read more of my interview with Darren Nixon, Joining a Conversation Well Underway.

WeLikeStatic tomorrow at Whisper Fine Art

WeLikeStatic at Whisper Fine ArtWe met up earlier today with Tom and Craig, better known at WeLikeStatic to have a sneak peak at their solo show opening tomorrow at Whisper Fine Art on Eastcastle street, London.

The place was buzzing with still “loads to do” but the team was at it and the display was shaping up nicely; this show, I could tell, will be a good one. Portraiture is what this show will try to tackle and we all know that it is rather an hazardous path to take, it does not take long to get it wrong and bore your audience with lifeless portraits, emotionless figures.

WeLikeStatic has managed with this new set of works to actually put the actual character depictation at a second plan and rather draw your attention to the making process of their pieces of art, this is for sure what got me interested here anyway.

“Look at it straight on and it will appear as one dimension work, but do two steps to left (or to the right) and a multi-layered artwork fades in front of your eyes”, giving a complete and unique take to the viewer’s eyes.

Spray paint, acrylic, screen printing, stenciling on layers of glass, Perspex and aluminum, you name it. A rather inpressive bunch of techniques and mediums got into that show which has been in preparation for months, we were told. And the result is something quite unique or in line with a trend I first had contact with when I encountered Adam Neate’s shows at the Elms Letters Painting Rooms: three dimensional art made of 21st century material – Perspex.

We also got a glimpse of the making of the front window display – the now recognizable space woman face. So far it looked like it will be ace. I cannot wait to see the end result tomorrow.

WeLikeStatic at Whisper Fine ArtWeLikeStatic at Whisper Fine Art

RSVP to Ruth at ruth@whisperfineart.co.uk, who will make you some lovely tea if you get there completely soaking wet, and lose your mind in the layered world of WeLikeStatic art

When – 27-28 Eastcastle Street, London W1W
Where – Private view on the 26/04/2012 | Show runs until 26/05/2012

Gordon Cheung’s at Edel Assanti gallery

This is it. It is lunch and I am craving, not food, but a good art show to go and check out, preferably a short distance from the office.

I quickly gathered my thoughts and here I am on my way to Zari gallery on Newman street (London) or this is where I thought I was going, should I rather say.

I stand there now and as I look up, I realise that I am in front of a gallery called Edel Assanti (the galleries are next to each other but I had never realised there were two separate ones until that day).

As I step in the gallery, I cannot help but noticing the simplicity and sobriety of the venue, which is not a bad thing at all, since it enables the viewer to focus only on what matters – the artistic output from the current show.

A quick nodding to the gallery assistant and here I am, almost trotting towards the back of the gallery to look at ‘Great Wall Of Sand‘.

This very large piece drew my attention right away, because all large pieces usually do, but also because I could not make out what I was looking at from far.

I still can’t.

Now, what really needs your attention is the relief in this piece, which you cannot figure out at first but come closer and closer and you’ll see that actual sand (see below) is included in Gordon Cheung’s work.

Samples of what looks like newspapers also help to make up some of the background of this artwork.

A beautiful and dreamy piece.

Gordon Cheung Unknowns Knows at Edel Assanti gallery | Art-Pie
Great Wall Of Sand (Click to enlarge)

Gordon Cheung Unknowns Knows at Edel Assanti gallery | Art-Pie

Gordon Cheung Unknowns Knows at Edel Assanti gallery | Art-Pie

Alongside the large pieces (of what looks like sceneries – more pics below), 2 other different types of works are on display –

The first one is using plain pigment paste (and later painted on) and stuck sand on canvas again (see previous post) and depicts flowers in a vase like I have never seen it before. Although, the aesthetics of the piece did not wow me, I can appreciate the various technics and the ‘refreshing’ take on such a subject.

Gordon Cheung Unknowns Knows at Edel Assanti gallery | Art-Pie Gordon Cheung Unknowns Knows at Edel Assanti gallery | Art-Pie

The second type of work is radically different with the rest and is a series of what may look like collages. It also reminds me of some times where you watch TVs and the signal gets weak – you know what I mean I am sure.

I must have been distracted by the other type of artworks in this show, since as I was going through the photographs I took, I felt urge to go back and have another look at those.

Gordon Cheung Unknowns Knows at Edel Assanti gallery | Art-Pie

Last time we saw Gordon Cheung’s works was 7 years ago and we are glad to see that the artist is still pushing the boundaries as much as in terms of the colour palette he used than disrupting the usual and common perception of a painting being flat

More – http://edelassanti.com/artists/33-gordon-cheung/exhibitions/

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