artists & participants
As issues of cultural ephemerality and man-made waste rise ever higher up the social agenda, this year's summer show at Flowers East takes 'junk' as its theme. The works in this exhibition examine our attitudes to the objects that we discard and the value systems that we create, to demonstrate how art can focus these assumptions through a different optic.
The featured artists - who include major figures from post-war and contemporary art in addition to emerging talents on the international scene - confront this timely and contentious subject from a number of angles. Edward Burtynsky's photographs of recycling plants in the Zhejiang Province of China make visible the human cost and environmental impact of our twenty- first century obsession with excess. Commenting further on the malignant effects of materialism, David Hughes' 'Untitled (Conveyor Belts)' is a visual statement of the blot we have created on our landscape, whilst Derek Boshier's ticket series shines a light on the minutiae of our culture of disposability.
Following the lineage of Duchamp, a number of the artists take up the discourse of the found object to explore how seemingly redundant matter can be re- substantiated with aesthetic value. Jessica Stockholder's work commands contemplation of objects we normally perceive as carrying little significance. Graham Hudson scavenges junk to create absurd assemblages on a mockingly aggrandised scale, and Peter Blake presents us with carefully curated cabinets of kitsch that, in another context, would appear as clutter.
Whilst it is the concern of some of the artists to appropriate junk as their medium, others cite it as their visual goal. By producing work that affects the appearance of the outcast or expendable, these artists disorient the viewer and upturn traditional systems of value. Gavin Turk's deceptive bronze replica of a sleeping bag, entitled 'Nomad', juxtaposes notions of the marginal and itinerant with the literal and symbolic weight of its medium. Susan Collis' 'Better Days', a dustsheet apparently splattered with paint, reveals itself on closer inspection to be a form of blank canvas, painstakingly embroidered with technicolor thread.
The title of the exhibition is taken from a lyric in the Beatles' song 'Junk', which was written at the time of The White Album but omitted from the final recording. Widely considered as a critique of consumerism and capitalist decadence, the song's critical thrust and flair for cultural commentary - together with it's 'discarded' status - make it a fitting reference point for a show that seeks both to explore the boundary between aesthetics and excess and blur the line of demarcation between the object and the abject.
'says the junk in the yard' will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with a text by Tom Morton, Contributing Editor of Frieze and exhibition curator Sam Chatterton Dickson.
Talks And Performances - Phyllida Barlow, Doug Fishbone, Can Altay 17 August 6Pm Onwards
Can Altay, Keith Arnatt, Phyllida Barlow, Peter Blake, Derek Boshier, Edward Burtynsky, Helen Chadwick, Kimberly Clark, Susan Collis, Doug Fishbone, Neil Gall, Sophie Gerrard, Stephen Gill, Graham Hudson, Stuart Haygarth, Andy Hsu, David Hughes, Tim Lewis, Chris Littlewood & Toby Smith, Alastair Mackie, Lee Maelzer, Zed Nelson, Jason Oddy, Cornelia Parker, Eduardo Paolozzi, Robert Polidori, Savage, Jessica Stockholder Mikhael Subotzky, Jennifer Taylor, Gavin Turk