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RUINS OF GLAMOUR/GLAMOUR OF RUINS
For those of you with short memories, or who were unable to attend the exhibition, I will run through its artists and detail some of their exhibits. Stefan Szczelkun's felt covered and smoke belching wendy house was not simply a post-modern pastiche of Joseph Beuys, it was also a means of making the viewer re-evaluate their attitude towards childhood. Hannah Vowles and Glyn Banks burnt their work not simply as an episode in the reinvention of Fluxus and Auto-Destructive Art, but also to demonstrate the role of destruction in the construction of glamour. Rather than losing their glamorous appeal, the burnt paintings actually 'appeared' more glamorous as a result of their incineration. Stewart Home (working as Karen Eliot) presented a huge wall painting of a junkie shooting up, with the intention of revealing the role of the glamorous victim in the social (re)production of Power. Tom McGlynn came from New York to present to an English audience his demolition of the appearance of glamour in consumer society. He did this with an exact scale enlargement of a calf from a children's farm yard toy set. The heroism and glamour of the increased size was nullified by the magnification of the numerous flaws pre-existing in the piece of plastic junk McGlynn used as his model. Ed Baxter, Andy Hopton and Simon Dickason, used spiked sculpture as a metaphor for the links between glamour, violence and destruction. Gabrielle Quinn explored the ethereal glamour of decay with an installation of decomposing heads. Rick Gibson served visitors to the show with food and wine, while wearing a see-through plastic vest lined with living worms. This performance was intended to bring to mind a very literal anal/ogy between glamour and corruption. And to really ram home the message that glamour can be, and is, constructed from the ugliest of materials, the most nihilistic of urges, the floor of the gallery was lined with coke. This last gesture was bitterly ironic, contrasting as it did the heat and history implied by the fossilised fuel to the ' cool' atmosphere pervading both glamour and the under-heated gallery. Thus if glamour is usually viewed as a 'desirable' given, the Ruins of Glamour/Glamour of Ruins show can be seen as a continuous performance in which 'artists', objects and audience, endlessly deconstruct and reconstruct 'glamour' - a process that eventually results in the exposure of the mechanisms underpinning this oppressive reification.
Ruins of Glamour/Glamour of Ruins
RUINS OF GLAMOUR
In the feudal epoch, glamour was a 'magic power' the neurotically repressed imagined 'witches' held over them. Likewise, in the bourgeois era, glamour has always been a projection on the part of the 'straight' adult' whose repression as a child has separated them from a conscious knowledge of their own sexuality. In western society, the child is a victim and object, desired, and as far as possible, denied any subjective role in their 'sexualisation'. This sexualisation is itself subsumed within the more general repressions of 'socialisation', a process that assumes, while simultaneously attempting to deny, that babies are born with a 'natural' propensity towards polysexuality. That this discipline, which aims at the reduction of sex and sexuality to an orgasmic and penetrative function, should be necessary at all, demonstrates the 'naturalness' and extent of polysexuality.
First published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Ruins Of Glamour/Glamour Of Ruins, Chisenhale Studios, London December 1986.
Follow on exhibition Desire In Ruins
Shots of the collaborative installation "Ruins of Glamour/Glamour of Ruins" at Chisenhale Studios, London December 1986.
THE HEALING POWER OF DOUBT
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