sidles over to me and introduces himself. We mooch on over to the two pieces he has on display. I'm not sure what to make of them initially; apparently they were inspired by Japanese cult TV show 'Monkey', though Matthew quickly points out that's not quite accurate. His main inspiration for these works is the idea that artists are agitators. They drive our understandings of life and culture forward, but they simultaneously annoy us, shock us and force us to question ourselves.
Matthew's work 'The Prophet'
represents a fool, while 'The Seer'
is the wiser, more holy version of the two characters. The artist states that humans are ultimately a bit of both, and I agree. He goes on to explain that in his personal life he is seen much more widely as a wise man, or saintly figure. However, deep down, he identifies more with the clown in 'The Prophet'
(his words, I promise).
The glorious topic of body hair came up too. Both characters sport flowing locks, though think less Pantene and more the deranged chick in 'The Ring'
. There is an ugly, even frightening aspect to the hair in both images. In 'The Seer'
, the subject is covered in it; his whole face is obscured by black matted, shocking, coarse, dramatic hair. It makes me want to swipe it away to see what he's really hiding. Matthew and I discuss how the word hairiness has negative connotations, while furriness brings comfort. The character is also wearing what looks like a halo, made of bright colours. He is the troubled hero and, clearly, all is not what it seems. There is a sinister edge to the piece, and I'm getting more keeper of a valley of death vibe than soul redeemer.
Eyes, or lack of them, play a role in both prints. The wise character has had one eye ripped out, while the other sits in his mouth. Matthew explains that he believes looking at something is far more telling than talking about the thing itself. This is mirrored in 'The Prophet'
, in which the fool character has also had an eye ripped out, which now hangs suspended above his head, looking down on him from a higher point, judging him. Coloured spots in the background add to the creepiness of this piece and highlight much smaller groupings of black circles, which Matthew points out symbolise DNA.
Artists Adam Dix
and Colin Glen
also had work on display. In a similar vein, their prints were very unsettling and curious, dealing with communication and rituals (Adam) and photographic documentation (Colin).
I recommend putting your eyes in your mouth and checking these prints out.Editioned Prints is open at the Other Criteria Gallery on New Bond Street from 17 February - 3 April 2012.
15:58 - 23/02/12
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