Inhis art, Brannon, proceeding rigorously and sometimes with macabreenthusiasm, dissects a consumerist society that seems to be teeteringon the edge of destruction. Immoderation, greed, excesses, and mostgravely, indomitable hedonism: these, it seems, are central elements ofcontemporary life as Brannon sees it. In prints, wallpapers, films,sound pieces, and writings, and most recently also in paintings, theartist articulates his personal views of what the filmmaker JeanRenoir’whom Brannon often cites’has called a ‘rotten society.’ Theimagery to which the artist’s works refer is only too familiar,featuring messy banquet leftovers, abandoned office landscapes, adulttoys and other accessories made by the entertainment industry,pseudo-luxury versions of articles of daily use, and various alcoholicbeverages and culinary delights’the stereotypes of a globalized jet-setculture. Brannon’s prints combine the superficiality of simplified formand content with acerbic narrative texts, uncovering a deeper’andsometimes abysmal’meaning concealed in these banal situations.Language, the beholder realizes, is just as important to Brannon as anyobject or representational content. In his work, words and writingbecome catalysts of sorts, making precisely calibrated suggestions asto the multifaceted possible readings of the various scenarios.
AtPortikus, Brannon will show his prints as well as an ornamentalwallpaper design and a sound piece entitled Gag. Once again, he isplaying with language as a medium as well as its failure: to ‘gag’someone means to choke him or shut him up’that is, to render himincapable of speaking’but the word also refers to the telling of jokes.In such paradoxical confrontations, Matthew Brannon examines not justthe complexity of socially established signs and the variousinterpretations that can be put on them; he also solicits the meaningsgenerated by the beholder’s bafflement.
Surface Noise, Jerwood Space, London
Matthew Barney, Ancient Evenings, Sadie Coles HQ, London