LES FLEURS DU MAL – NEW ART FROM LONDON Exhibition 30/04 – 17/06 2012, GALERIA AWANGARDA, Wroclaw, Poland
Fleurs du mal/The Flowers of Evil/
Charles Baudelaire’s classic collection of poems, Fleur du Mal, are widely regarded as master pieces of the genre. Showcasing the thoughts of the isolated phantom who wonders the metropolitan landscape in search of some unobtainable respite to the conditions of modern life. This idea of the flâneurand the artist seeking salvation and beauty in an ever more morally corrupt world is central to the working methods and ideas of the group of artists in the exhibition. At once political and aesthetic, the works highlight a growing trend among artists working in the United Kingdom to mix historical reference points with an artistic practice that seamlessly merges with their everyday lives. The project will include photography, video, sculpture, installation and performance works, all of which represent the idea of the artist as a traveller though the urban landscape. The forms these territories take is however many fold, from the virtual spaces imaged by John Russell, to the political protests and conflicts captured in the photographs of Max Reeves or the Situationist drifts of Laura Oldfield Ford. Kieron Livingstone and Ian Allison have produced a publication with satirises the British government’s austerity plans and has been re-printed in Polish especially for the exhibition. The People Speaks on- going project Talkaoke is platform for public debate that can take place anywhere in the city. It allows strangers who might normally never interact to have conversations and share ideas. By using unusual public distribution methods the publication also repurposes public space. Emily McMehen’s travels take a more traditional form though her journey’s to Haiti which resulted in the film Lives of the Saints: Achante. Clunie Reid and Edwin Burdis both embrace a dark malaise that Baudelaire would have recognised well. For Reid this involves reworking images from the media to reveal new narratives dominated sleaze and the promise of desire. For Burdis, the world is seen as endless series of personal crisis which perhaps allude to some higher sense of spiritual disentrancement. Lastly kennardphillips and Francis Thorburn are both utopians at heart. Imaging a world free of injustice, but very much living in the world we have today. Through their work they set about out to confront these realities and change the future. In the end, what these entire artists share is not a geographic setting, but an attitude of defiance. They are the flowers breaking though the concrete.
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