“The works can be remnants - an old abandoned sci-fi movie city - but the images have gone dark or been rewritten”. The exhibition at IMT begins where the press release, itself an important element in the conceptualisation of the show, leaves off.
The walls of the gallery have been spray painted to resemble some kind of toxic sky, with poisonous greens and billowing hues of black and purple. It creates a trail of changing colours like some kind of Romantic painter’s nightmare, through to its charred end. This, along with a pair of old tyres is the work of Thorbjørn Andersen and Flore Nové-Josserand acts as the theatrical backdrop for the rest of the show. In the middle of the room stands a lonely woman, a simplified Botticelli Venus, her blond hair blowing in the wind and denim jacket slung attitudinally over her shoulder. This painted cut out by Lindsey Mendick is like a heroine in a dystopian Hollywood franchise, a trope which in this context becomes two dimensional in more ways than one. Yet she is also the humour in this exhibition, with her jewel encrusted jacket like some cast off from a Baz Luhrmann film, slightly bashfully averting her gaze from the viewer, using her long locks to protect her modesty while all around her turns into dust.
There is a collection of works on the wall. Two paintings by Daniel Davies and a print by Kristian Kragelund hang together and their raw materiality add to the sense of a primal environment. Kragelund’s dark and murky prints made from discarded steel plates recall misty landscapes with their moody palette. At the back of the room hanging like some totemic prop are six panels by Gordon Shrigley. Made out of painted MDF with tightly gridded chalk marks they are reminiscent of a primal tool for education, to be used by a character like the feral child in ‘Mad Max 2’, uneducated yet emotionally perceptive of the remnants of culture that surround him. Appearing as stone tablets these works take on a very different sense within the context of this exhibition. They become pre-historic - or post-apocalyptic - an unexplained or no longer understood language. If only we had the key we could unlock everything else around.
This exhibition is a film set, a scenario imagined through the fragmentary subjectivity of the information culture of the internet. As the press release says in its cut up yet discursive manner, “It’s a show that has something to do with endings and after endings”. Like Benedict Drew’s juddering, brilliantly disturbing and amorphous video entitled ‘Not Happy’ the show is at once bleak but at the same time over the top, and like all the best sci-fi its success is in its ability to set a scene. It is a scene which plays to the more primal sides of ourselves yet with the unmistakable flavour of contemporary communication technologies. To sign off like the press release - #Iwasdoomed