Thursday, 21 April 2011

The British Art Show 7: In The Days of The Comet

I'm not one for these type of art shows, I usually feel disappointed - thinking what is the point.
This show today was pretty much the same except it caught me by surprise.

The ad for the show above was set as shown within the Hayward gallery as seen below. There must have been some type of gas burner for the flames as they were real coming out from the bench as shown and as I was taking a close look studying the nude - life figure in front of me I was amazed at how soft the skin was and the delicate hairs that stood on end under the spot light within the darkened room. It made me jump when I realised it was so good because he was real. I did feel a bit stupid I just wasn't expecting it.
 But is this art? There is a reaction - But what is the point? Doesn't look like I've got a chance!

I found these words by Peter Lindley

 Roger Hiorns's Untitled performance installation which comes closest to referencing the flaming comet of the show's sub-heading. A metal bench, of the kind found in any municipal park covered in bird shit, is reappropriated by the artist for his own purpose.
At designated times throughout the day one end of the bench ignites and a nude male appears to take up a pose. The bench then becomes a frame for a live event - a study in light - a lament and contemplation on the transience of beautiful youth. The youth's gaze and pose, in the tradition of the artist's model, relates to the flicker of flames - primordial, exposed, significant and anonymous at the same time, as emergent as the young man.
The work suggests the spontaneous combustion of something vanished, for the artist's model rather than as a vehicle for the artist making a comment on "park life" or the "hoodie" burning lighter fluid for a laugh.

This was also quite strange and made me feel quite sick, by  Nathaniel Mellors . A very life-like head sporadically vomits a gelatinous fluid into a bucket, which then allows it to travel through a series of pipes back to the start. The mechanism is all on show. It mirrors the human digestive system, but with a partnering of organic and mechanical movement. It was in a dark room which had a large projector playing what looked like a couple of drunks that were wasted talking a load of tripe!

Above a large Wolfgang Tilmans
These two works were the only pieces I liked.

Mick Peter soft saws?
Brian Griffiths' huge bear head looked like a blown up orange Micky mouse.
Matthew Darbyshire's An Exhibition of Modern Living installation
Alasdair Grey, Andrew Grey aged 7

George Shaw
Charles Avery- Strange as other versions include a male figure.
 I guess the meaning would be very different.

The Curators write:
"British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet looks to art made in the period 2005–10, paying particular attention to the ways in which artists make use of histories – be they distant or proximate, longingly imagined or all too real – to illuminate our present moment. While current scientific theory posits that comets are nothing more than elliptically orbiting clumps of dust, ice and gas, utterly indifferent to our affairs, they remain powerful reminders of the way in which our species has attempted to understand experience through the measuring of time, the writing of history, the belief in cosmological influence, and the notion of a deterministic universe. The comet alludes here to the measuring of time, to historical recurrence, and – in the commonly counter-clockwise movements of these heavenly bodies around the sun – to pocket universes and parallel worlds. The comet is a sign mistaken for a wonder, be that cataclysm or rapture, and a figure of looping obsession. It is something that is always with us, no matter that it is sometimes far out of sight. 
The subtitle of the seventh British Art Show is taken from H.G. Wells's 1906 novel In the Days of the Comet, set a century ago in 1910, the date of Halley's Comet's last-but-one apparition. The British socialist and science-fiction writer imagines the appearance of a comet over the United Kingdom, which releases a green gas that creates a ‘Great Change' in all mankind, turning it away from war and exploitation and towards rationalism and a heightened appreciation of beauty. Notably, this shift in understanding is achieved not through human agency, but through an ineffable alien force. What is significant about Wells's title, however, is that the ‘days' to which it refers are not only those of an enforced Utopian transformation, but the whole of recorded history. The comet's recurrent nature, and its orbiting of the same sun as the Earth, draws together the past, present and perhaps even the future too. Britain has always lived ‘in the days of the comet."
Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton, 2011

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