Wednesday, 5 January 2011

2011 starts with a BIG bang!

It's all began with a Big BANG!
Then we came along and made it all about Big Bucks!
Yes you've guessed it, the title of our next show: 'Big Bangs, Big Bucks' with the artists Geoffrey H. Short and Nikolai Ischuck.

Power & beauty are themes shared by both artists. We find ourselves drawn to both with a mixture of fascination & fear. The danger presented by each of these is felt acutely this moment in history - with wars raging & economies collapsing around us - no one feels safe or secure. The threat of terrorism just around the next street corner (or so the media & politicians would like us to believe) looms large. Money (or lack thereof) has caused untold damage to countries & individuals alike. Yet despite this, we want it. It may be said that those who think that money can't buy happiness don't know where to shop, but without it there is guaranteed suffering.

The urge to just blast it all away with something destructive & frivolous - like a new pair of shoes or a sparkly camera, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll - has a freeing quality all of its own. The abandon that come with irresponsible behaviour has its own benefits (albeit short-lived) of freeing the soul to indulge in pure pleasure for pleasures sake. This is where Short's images take us. Looking into those enormous explosions in the sky take you up into the clouds & far away from the everyday stresses & strains of life. 'Don't play with fire', 'don't get your fingers burnt'. Wise words indeed, but better still let Geoffrey Short do it for you & relish the results! I find myself lost in the terrifying beauty of the flames, knowing the danger they represent, but finding them insatiably attractive all the same.

Nikolai Ischuck's Big Bucks reveal the inherent beauty of not only the intricate design of currency, but also of the notes as objects themselves. The scuffed edges discloses that they have passed through many hands, creating a map of its life so far akin to the lines in our own faces, they tell stories without words. The hundred trillion Zimbabwean Dollar note (no longer in circulation) has a hole in the bottom right corner. This hole may have happened as a result of general wear & tear, yet the fact it ever existed at all speaks volumes regarding the terrifying levels of inflation that occurred leading to its production in the first place.

There is a lot to write about this work, I have only scratched the surface but will return to explore the works by both artists in further blogs. They have just gone up on the walls, so I can now get to know them on a more personal level each day. As with all great art, the relationship that is struck between the work & the viewer can only be developed through repeated viewing. And this is what I intend to do.