The Impossible Heap

2012-6-20

A group exhibition at Galerie8 is somehow related to Samuel Beckett's Endgame.

Memory is nominally the theme of The Impossible Heap, however that is only true in the sense that most of the art is easily forgettable. Some of the pieces are hidden behind corners, as though Galerie8 kinda-sorta forgot about them as well.

Still, there is a nice pile of video-cum-debris by Alexis Milne and Tom Bresolin. Entitled Riot Act SE6, this would effectively allow you to bring the aesthetics of the most recent London riots into the centre of your new luxury Hackney loft. It's a pretty good reaction to the rioting, and it feels honest whereas some of the other work at The Impossible Heap feels exploitive.

Another work that is worth commenting on is Asgar and Gabriel's Oh and Ah, which depicts writhing teenage flesh overlaid with some passages from Noam Chomsky. Why is there this need to mix pornography and political theory?

In 2003, US soldiers in Iraq entered one of Saddam Hussein's palaces and found it covered with erotic murals, the kind of thing Boris Vallejo might paint, only more so. Jonathan Jones wrote about them in the Guardian:

They are from the universal cultural gutter - pure dreck. They look spraypainted, in a rampant hyperbolic style where all men are muscular, all women have giant breasts and missiles are metal cocks. These are art for the barely literate, or the barely sentient, dredged from some red-lit back alley of the brain.

Jones concluded that they were evidence of a "fascist" politics. What a pity that Saddam didn't include some choice political quotes on his murals, perhaps from Sam Huntington's Political Order in Changing Societies. Instead we once again have a situation where fascists get to have all the fun, while leftists ruin theirs by quoting Chomsky.

The Impossible Heap is on at Galerie8 in Hackney until the 26th of August.


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