Monday, 18 April 2011

Cheers Saatchi. Newspeak Part II.

This weekend I was back in visiting London and nipped into part II of Saatchi's caps locked 'NEWSPEAK: BRITISH ART NOW'. I went to the first show a few months ago and was left a little underwhelmed, it was more like a car showroom than an exhibition. At the same time, there was the British Art Show on at the Nottingham Contemporary, also not the best of British, but still less restricted than Saatchi's version in Part I of 'Newspeak'. Also, I hate-hate-hate the long pretentious descriptions that Saatchi Gallery include. If it's a box covered in gaffa-tape don't say it's "a monumental void connoting absence and memory", it does my head in! I ended up feeling that the art scene had gone to hell, concerned with is style and trends instead of cultural exploration. I was desperate for something to get in my face and shake me about. 'Hang the blessed DJ because the music that they constantly play it says nothing to me about my life' (the Smiths). I can't say that part two screamed provocation, bit it was defiantly more relevant.

By the way, I am recommending Part II - it was 550 million times better than the first. I got the impression that most of the artists actually gave a stuff about what they did. That's what I want from an art show, artists who want to make art. There's lots of work to see and more than a few worth a mention. I'll mention them, you go see them...

James Howard
I'm glad these made the cut. I reckon it was the highlight of the show, photo-montage made from junk mail spam. Howard made new adverts for fictitious products out of the junk he had been getting through his inbox. An excellent demonstration of the benefits of recycling. They advertisements went along the lines of... "Remote-goat-hunting. Shoot animals from the office only 9.99 per month".

The best thing about them is there material. The artist didn't bother painting them or making a stone-caving to validate his ideas. He simply printed out the photoshopped results, pixels 'n' all, and pinned them up on the walls. Concepts shouldn't need  extra processes or craft. The medium is the message, if it's contemporary and relevant why compromise?  Cheers James! 

Johnathan Wateridge
Paintings by Johnathan Wateridge of various characters in a pseudo-environments that fitted there personality. Mainly militants and astronauts come to think of it. The idea might sound like an GSCE project, but these 3 meter tall scenes of modern heroes/villains cleverly resembled 18 century paintings of royalty (the kind you might look at and think, "I wonder if Henry the eighth ever used that sword for anything but scratching his fat back"). I enjoyed that part, it made me smile. 

Tessa farmer
In the same room as the character-paintings was a box full of about one-hundred little tiny insects. I didn't notice at first, but each of the bugs had a little handmade skeleton riding on their backs. One of the best one was a tiny skeleton man surfing the back of a dead ladybird like Marty McFly. This is exactly the kind of thing I'd like doing with my corpse when I die. It sort of lightens he mood.

Other good-ens...  Luke Rudolf, Idris Khan, Arif Ozakca

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