Exhibitions

TO PAY RESPECT TO THE GENEROSITY OF THE THREE-MINUTE PUNK-ROCK SONG

Vito Acconci, Black Argos, David Blamey, José Arnaud-Bello, Sovay Berriman, Don Celender, Loz Chalk, Rob Chavasse, Adam Chodzko, Desmond Church (with Egle Kulbokaite and Sabel Gavaldon), Patrick Coyle, Andrew Cross, David Cross, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Anthony Gross, S Mark Gubb, David Hall, Rose Kallal, Adam Knight, Frank Koolen, John Latham, Jamie Bracken Lobb, Elizabeth McAlpine, Julie McCalden, Ronan McCrea, Magnets, David Martin, Nelson Melo and Carolina Rito, Suzanne Mooney, Lawrence Norfolk and Neal White, Graham Parker, Kelvin Pawsey, Laurence Payot, Pedro Diniz Reis, Andrea Schlieker, Anthony Shapland, Gregg Stobbs, Barry Sykes, Aron Taylor, Sue Tompkins, Gavin Turk, Mark Aerial Waller, Neal White, Carey Young + more.

Exhibition curated by Toby Huddlestone, curator at CRATE 
Events curated by Jim Lockey, curator at LIMBO

18 November - 18 December 2011. Open Fri-Sun 12-6pm

Special Events:
8 November 6pm - late: Opening party & T-shirt sale
29 November 6.30pm: Andrea Schlieker talk
2 December 8pm: Magnets gig
10 December - Screening of Ensemble, Andrew Cross

The three-minute punk-rock song is one of the most generous forms of artistic expression ever created. Lasting just three minutes, it allows us plenty of time both before and after the event to carry on with the rest of what we have to be getting on with.

The punk song is a conceptually tight machine partly formulated by its duration and dedication to punch hard and fast, but therein lays a beautiful contradiction. Within the body of the song are strewn errors, spasms, glorious hic-ups and splutters, reminiscent of our everyday stumblings. The world is becoming increasingly fast-paced and precarious - we know that, but rather than translating this as having detrimental impact on the human race, and foreseeing some kind of neurotic and psychologically broken utopian reality, instead let us embrace this urgency, and the interruptions and blurring that formulate through it.

Let us find the strategies, lines and modes we are most capable of using in order to continue to be culturally inspired and exist. Referring to Agamben's commentary on the absurd notion of 'the holiday', which as a society, we have created as a rewarding break from our everyday working life, we now require shorter bursts of 'away-time', often removing ourselves from daily patterns of life psychologically whilst our bodies remain planted. Many of the artists in this exhibition recognise the poignancy of a wanting for cultural quickness, and the importance of (the word that defines what they do) practice as we continue to re-interpret and re-invent artistic methods to create new associations and commentaries of our present reality. Error making, failure and lapses are crucial to (artistic) practices that are investigative; generous through their efforts to get to grips with something. The works are not one-hit wonders, far from it; like the punk song, they arrest us and reverberate a political stance through us, shuddering us into an altered state forcing recognition and ambition.

NOTES FOR AN EXHIBITION

Open: 21 October - 6 November 2011, Fri - Sun 12 – 6pm
Endview: Sunday 6 November 2011, from 6pm

Artist: Desmond Church
Curators: Daniela Berger, Sabel Gavaldon, Egle Kulbokaite, Lily Hall, Mette Kjaergaard Praest, Laura Smith.

Co-curated by Toby Huddlestone CRATE presents the third exhibition as part of the current Exhibition as Medium programme, Notes For An Exhibition.

Six curators, one artist, one gallery, three weeks. The focus of Notes For An Exhibition will move away from methods of teleological exhibition-making toward action, response and production, emphasizing collaboration and discussion, association and conversation.

Notes For An Exhibition is an experiment that will deliberately be allowed to evolve and change shape. Over the exhibition’s three-week duration, six curators working in pairs will collaborate with the artist Desmond Church. To begin with the gallery space will be empty; throughout the three weeks to come Church will programmatically send each pair of curators a series of proposals for works, actions or instructions. These proposals will be sent to the curators one at a time and will most likely take the form of a drawing or a line of text, which will be interpreted and produced by the curators and finally be displayed alongside the outcome of their directive. The accumulation of these proposals and their outcomes will grow and exist in the gallery as evidence of the collaboration, building almost toward the final production of a Desmond Church solo show.

Notes For An Exhibition therefore seeks to address questions of duration and presence with regard to content and the development of ideas. It also hopes to investigate, or begin to unravel, contemporary ideas around authorship, object/research dynamics and the outsourcing of artistic production, drawing on alternative exhibition histories as inspiration toward its final outcome.

desmondchurch.co.uk

GROUP SHOW / SOLO SHOW (ROBERT BARRY)

Valentinas Klimašauskas, Raimundas Malašauskas, Jonathan Monk, Museum of American Art, Paul O'Neill

Preview: 26 August 6.30 - 9pm
Open 26 August - 18 September 2011, 12-6pm Sat - Sun
(Or by appointment)

An exhibition centred on the work of conceptual artist Robert Barry. A reinvention of the solo show. Re-workings and re-interpretations of Barry's work will be presented in the only exhibition in the Exhibition As Medium programme that will remain in a static form. A focus here lies more in what a solo show can constitute, in this case focusing on artists and thinkers who have utilised Barry's ideas in order to create new work or re-imagine original works.

This curatorial premise of re-thinking the solo show abolishes the ongoing contentious issue of whether (ordinary) solo shows can ultimately be curated. Through the original curatorial premise, and the process of selecting artists and works, this is much more an experiment in curatorial practice than an invited and 'organised' solo exhibition.

Barry, more than any other artist, lends himself to this kind of reworking of the solo exhibition. Through his early works in the 1960's, he recognised the importance and playfulness of authorship, often claiming where, or how artworks could be experienced, rather than physically showing something. Red Square (1967), a single small canvas, includes the specification that it be installed 'at the centre of the wall'. 

Other paintings from the same period were sent with instructions on where they should be hung in a particular space, 'the background wall in both cases becoming thematically accommodated within the totality of the work.' His Telepathic Piece (1969), leaves nothing more than the artist's intention of how the work will exist, and probably his most well-known work Closed Gallery series (1969), in which was written on the invitation card for an upcoming exhibition, 'During the exhibition the gallery will be closed', he 'shrewdly and clearly played on art's conditions' , leaving nothing but an empty gallery, maintaining complete control over (the non-existent) exhibited product.

Through not showing any Robert Barry works in a Robert Barry solo show, authorship and control, the things so avidly investigated and so articulated expressed originally by Barry, pass back onto the curator. The curator pretends to be the solo artist, alongside the group of participating artists pretending to be the solo artist. The solo artist is still the solo artist.

The Woodmill - (IN THE DAYS OF THE) ROID

Friday 5 August, 2011.  8pm

For the final part of Solo Show / Group Show, The Woodmill (Alastair Frazer, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides) present a new play / performance in three parts. 'Roid' is a tragi-com about transformation, epoch, dark psychedelia, death and absurdity. Through a series of monologues, scenarios and prop-based actions this inter-personal edit merges experienced moments and historical events to explore personal dialogue, an idea of coming-of-age, and the 'wrong' psychedelics of Charles Manson.

Feel free to join us from 7pm for a few drinks before the event.

Nearest train - Margate rail from Victoria, St. Pancras and Stratford International. Last trains back to London: 21:53 to St.Pancras 22:16 to Victoria

woodmill.org

SOLO SHOW/GROUP SHOW

Noel Clueit, Bob Levene, David Martin, Dan Meththananda, Woodmill (Alastair Frazer, Naomi Pearce and Richard Sides)

Open: 15 July - 8 August 2011, 12-6pm Friday - Sunday (and whenever an artist is working in the gallery)

A group exhibition presented as a series of cumulative solo exhibitions.

Each artist produces and presents new work in the gallery space at different times during the exhibition, choosing either to use or disregard what has gone before. For the curator, importance is shifted from spatial or thematic concerns towards the exhibition's time frame.

For the artist, this format of group exhibition instigates and supports a much more active decision-making role than usual, asking them to respond physically to others' work in the space, so shifting elements of curatorial (spatial, aesthetic and thematic) control over to the artists. The curator's role becomes insignificant other than setting the initial parameters, passing all control of exhibited product back to the artist. The artist takes on the gallery as a temporary workplace akin to that of a studio, in which they find things already, which they must work with in some way. They do not bring along pre-made works ready to hang on the white walls or place on the floor - instead they become an ongoing work themselves in the space in amongst the visiting public. 

About the artists:

Noel Clueit is based in Manchester, UK. Sampling ready-made or reproduced objects, Clueit utilises shop bought objects, photocopied areas of art history books and appropriated record sleeves - commercial objects that riff between post-painterly abstraction and the purely decorative - altered in order to show their dumbed down 'modernish' appeal. Recent work explores authorship, reproduction and the relationship between reference material and the representation of objects. These materials are sourced in order to explore our unaware attachment to icons, compositions and the shifts of value and taste within contemporary culture. Recent exhibitions include: Burlington Fine Arts Club, Piccadilly Place, Manchester; We Are All In This Together, Bureau, Manchester; Painting Show, Supercollider, Blackpool; DEADPAN, Royal Standard, Liverpool; Legacy 1, Forman's Sculpture Yard / LIU Gallery, London; From This Filthy Sewer Pure Gold Flows, Rogue Project Space, Manchester, A Curriculum, A Foundation, Liverpool; Supercollider Embassy, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool; Sunflowers Satellite Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne. 

Bob Levene, based in Sheffield, UK, “is an artist who embraces the conclusive, ongoing and unpredictable. Her work resounds with a poetic sensibility that defies categorisation, but with a focus on the nature of perception and sound. Adopting pseudo scientific strategies and anthropological methods of recording to analyse the 'nature' of things, she investigates time, distance and communication. In her efforts with limited resources and limited tools, she uncovers with wit and guilefree sincerity a finely balanced poetics of perception that takes us beyond the 'truth' of things into the realm of the absurd” Roger McKinley, Corridor8 Magazine, 2009

David Martin is currently based in Bristol, UK. After graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2004, he has exhibited in the UK, Spain, Scotland and Germany. Recent projects include We Are All in It Together (Bureau, Manchester), Rascals in Paradise (WSM) and Smokescreen (Galerie Art Report and Weltraum Project Space, Munich). David is a Co-Director of Exocet, an arts organisation which focuses its activity outside traditional art venues, and an independent curator, currently organising an exchange project between Cork and Bristol. 

Dan Meththananda was born in Margate in 1985 and currently lives and works in Paris. He studied mathematics at University College London, social sciences at Columbia University and worked in media research for a major American television network before attempting to become an artist in a French business school, HEC, in 2009. He has brown eyes.

The Woodmill was formed in 2009 by a group of artists and curators to establish a dynamic environment for exhibitions and events combined with experimental and communal artists' production space.

nfclueit.com
boblevene.co.uk
dmartin.org.uk
woodmill.org

Tom Duggan: LACUNA

Preview: Saturday 17 April 2010, 6-9pm | CRATE Project Space, Bilton Square, Margate CT9 1DX
Exhibition opening dates and times:
18, 23-25, 30 April 2010 and 1 May, 12-5pm |
CRATE
Project Space
19-23 April 2010, 9am-5pm | Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury, New Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3AN

Wherever art appears, life disappears. " Francis Picabia

CRATE presents Lacuna, which documents the actions of a series of personas inhabited by the artist Tom Duggan.

The exhibition, which will take place at CRATE Project Space in Margate and at the Herbert Read Gallery at UCA in Canterbury, comprises performance, installation, found objects and text works.

Lacuna portrays ‘an artist who isolates himself for our spectacle’, regarding the tradition of disappearing artists like Bas Jan Ader and Lee Lozano, while considering, perhaps ironically, how such artists have entered into art history.

In some instances we see Duggan proposing fantasies; in others he seems to be preparing to disappear from the world. Seeming to exist both in fiction and in reality, these works reflect Duggan’s apparently simultaneous desires to be known and to be invisible.

Several of the works make attempts at declaring something. In one instance, Duggan claims to have put everything he owns into cardboard boxes. In another work, that the object exhibited is an item stolen from an undisclosed location somewhere in the UK. These claims are either supported with some kind of proof (if the action took place in the past), or presented as a promise (if it is yet to take place); with each, some aspect of the work is either unseen or unspecified.

In contrast to these declarations and promises are the suggestions of imagined exhibitions curated by the artist, for which he has created a series of press releases and floor plans.

Lacuna considers the presentation of the Tom Duggan artist-persona through this institutional framework and its capacity for revealing truths. It asks whether the viewer will accept the disparity between the Tom Duggan who speaks through the institution and the Tom Duggan who, we are told, carries out the series of secretive, isolated and contemplative acts documented in the work.

Lacuna is part of Bad Translation, CRATE’s programme for 2009/10.  It is supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

About the artist:

Tom Duggan graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2009.

He once arranged for a follower to follow viewers upon their departure from an exhibition space. Elsewhere, he arranged for actors to visit an exhibition only to pretend to be genuine viewers of the exhibition. Partially in an attempt to question the authority of the artist, these potentially invisible gestures play with the notions of consent inherent to gallery dynamics and etiquette.

Recent exhibitions have included Project Biennale (2009), Nottingham Trent University Fine Art Degree Show (2009) and Defunct (2008), which he co-curated at Backlit Studios in Nottingham.

tomduggan.org.uk

Lucy Harrison: THE ABSENT COLLECTOR

Preview: Friday 12 March 2010, 6-9pm
Open: 13 - 14 March 2010, 12-5pm & 19 - 21 March 2010, 12-5pm (Or by appointment)

For the fifth exhibition in CRATE's Bad Translation programme, Lucy Harrison explores interpretation and coincidence through the stories of two people – one from 20th Century Italy, the other from 19th Century Margate.

In the first part of the show, which takes place in CRATE’s Project Space 1, she attempts to piece together the biography of the owner of a collection of letters and postcards found on a roadside in Sicily.

The London-based artist was visiting Palermo last year when she discovered a carrier bag full of correspondence spanning 20 years. She returned home with the letters, intrigued by what they might reveal of their owner – and what they might withhold. With the help of an Italian speaking friend, she found parallels between the found collection and other ephemera belonging to absent family members which she herself owns. Following this, she asked various Italian speakers in Italy and the UK, including in Margate, to translate more of the letters into English, and also to interpret and speculate on what the letters might have meant and what they reveal about the correspondents’ lives and relationships. Her search for Italian connections in the area led her to a local story that casts a different light on what happens to somebody’s possessions when they die.

In Project Space 2, Harrison investigates a pamphlet found in the Margate Local History Archive. ‘A Plain Statement of a Late Base Conspiracy’ is the confusing story of a man in Margate in 1837 who felt persecuted by gossip in the town about why his uncle cut him out of his will. The gossip was literally spread around the streets by graffiti and ‘printed placards’.

The Absent Collector is Harrison’s investigation into the process by which the belongings of one who is no longer there have new value judgments placed on them and are often disseminated to various locations and read without the previous owner’s knowledge of why they were kept, or of the specific relationships between the objects that determined their meaning. By focusing on the idea of an unknown collector, the project considers how others may find or interpret items that were given away, and the way in which those that were kept now signify a void; the writer or receiver of letters no longer being present to clarify points or retell stories.

Harrison’s dissemination of the Sicilian collection is in part an attempt to explore how personal connections and family histories make objects meaningful: that when her collaborators’ input is gathered to form a new collection, it might create a portrait of the vacuum that is created when someone dies. The exhibition also examines the act of ‘reading’ a collection of objects – whether they be letters, objects, photographs - highlighting the role of guesswork in the absence of the original collector, and the extent to which one’s understanding of collections is guided by one’s own desires rather than curatorial or objective agendas. Furthermore, it considers the impact that this act of reinterpretation can have in the real world.

The Absent Collector is part of Bad Translation, CRATE’s programme for 2009/10. It is generously supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

About the artist:

Lucy Harrison is based in London and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1999. Her recent work investigates the subjective nature of the experience of place and connections between memory, location and architecture. It takes the form of photographs, book works, video and various forms of printed and published material. Her projects often engage with the public realm through collaboration, encounter and exchange, and involve residents of a place in the work, such as Canvey Guides, a project on Canvey Island in 2007, for which she formed the Rendezvous Walking Club and worked with people on the island to produce an alternative guidebook and audio guide. Recent projects include Fourteen Interventions (2010) at Swedenborg House, Poetry Machines (2009) at the Saison Poetry Library, London, The Stratford Grapevine (2008) for Art on the Underground at Stratford station and a residency at Lokaal 01, Antwerp in 2008. She was artist in residence at the Institute for Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts at the University of Bath last year, and is developing a new project for SPACE working with residents of an estate in Hackney Wick, London.

Lucy Harrison is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury.

lucy-harrison.co.uk

S Mark Gubb + Roadkill Zine: HISTORY OF A TIME TO COME

Preview: Friday 12 February, 2010. 6 - 9pm
Open: 13 - 14 February 2010, 12 - 5pm & 19 - 21 February 2010, 12-5pm (Or by appointment)
Plus Zine Fair 20 February 2010, 12-5pm

For the fourth exhibition in CRATE’s Bad Translation programme, S Mark Gubb is teaming up with a hypnotist and East-Kent based fanzine Road Kill to rediscover his youth - specifically, his late teens, which he spent as a heavy metal and hardcore-loving musician and skateboarder in Margate.

For Gubb, as for anyone between the age of seventeen and twenty-one, these were seminal times, when cultural allegiances were formed and rock-star dreams pursued, while the pressures and realities of adulthood approached quietly. Towards the end of this period, Gubb realised that he had to choose between his beloved music and returning to study art. He chose the latter, but the local DIY music and skateboarding subcultures left a strong imprint on his work, which even now is as likely to refer to Napalm Death as it is to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In fact, Gubb’s work is an exploration of how different subcultures, with their attendant languages, can overlap in contemporary society, creating challenges to notions of independence and originality for those who regard themselves as outsiders (or, indeed, insiders). A single work might find the common ground between the inclusive rhetoric of both the American political right and the independent music scene, but, rather than producing work that critiques this process from rigid ideological standpoint, Gubb explores its potential for good and bad with equal emphasis.

In this new work, he positions himself explicitly as the subject of the actions, decisions and tastes of others – someone whose personal understanding of time and place are part of a larger system of tastes and interpretations. In December 2009, Gubb visited a hypnotist to be ‘regressed’ to his time in Margate. The series of diaristic impressions of the town and the landmarks and events that were important to his time there formed a manuscript, from which Road Kill Zine will be producing a zine and exhibition of drawings.

Road Kill Zine

Road Kill Zine was started in 2007 by Craig Scott and Dan Singer. The pair met skateboarding in Whitstable and Herne Bay, and soon discovered the rich DIY culture and hardcore punk music associated with the sport since the 1980s. Inspired by pioneering hardcore bands Minor Threat and Black Flag (whose singers, Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins skateboarded together as teens), they adopted the ‘straight edge’ mantra (‘Don’t smoke, don’t drink...), and looked to the illustrators and fanzines associated with the bands for examples of how they might fill their evenings without dulling their minds. Their fanzines, which openly recall the subculture of the decade before they were born, take the classic obsessions of teenage misfits – zombies, sex, mistrust of grown-ups and authority figures - mix them with social commentary and weird humour, and render it all in a surreal anthropomorphic graphic style that reclaims each piece of source material, whether it be a slasher movie or a cheap pornographic image, as the subject of a very idiosyncratic imagination and worldview.

For History of a Time to Come Road Kill have produced a fanzine that takes the results of Gubb’s hypnotic regression and applies their skewed approach to his memories of day-to-day life in Margate, which include relatively quotidian events, such arbitrarily deciding to walk an unfamiliar route to his home. The results are tangential and phantasmagorical; a radical remaking of the past and an exploration of the relationship between Gubb, Scott and Singer; suggesting that illusive acts of the imagination and random thoughts are perhaps more substantive areas of commonality than any verifiable facts that might bind the three together.

In addition to the fanzine, which will be available for free from CRATE for the course of the exhibition, Gubb will work with Road Kill to produce a walk-in version of the ‘zine in CRATE’s project space. This could be seen as an attempt to make real those imaginary works the three have formed together. On the other hand, it could also be regarded as a shrine to the teenage bedroom or artists’ studio...

Zine fair CRATE will be holding an exhibition of fanzines and artists’ books to coincide with History of a Time to Come, featuring contributions from Road Kill – who will be bringing hand-printed hoodies and T-shirts as well as zines – and other self-publishers from Kent, including artist Lucy Harrison, who has a solo exhibition at CRATE in March. Other contributors include Duck and Cover Art Journal and Never Grow Up Zine. Entry is free, and all contributors will have work for sale. Non-contributors are welcome to bring their own fanzines to show and swap.

History of a Time to Come is part of Bad Translation, CRATE’s programme for 2009/10. It is generously supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

Download the zine here

craigquestionsscott.tumblr.com
dansinger.co.uk
smarkgubb.com

Juan Cruz: TRANSLATING CHAPTER TWO

Preview: Friday 11 December 2009.
6 - 9pm
Open: 12 - 13 & 18 - 20 December 2009, 12-5pm (Or by appointment)

Crate presents two new works by Juan Cruz: 
A Translation of El Arbol de la Ciencia (The Tree of Science) by Pío Baroja
A Translation of
La Sima (The Chasm) by Pío Baroja (with Naama Yuria)

For the third exhibition in Crate’s programme for 2009/10, two stories by Spanish writer Pío Baroja (1872-1956) are translated. These new works stem from artist Juan Cruz’s long-running interest in staging the interpretation of text from Spanish into English, treating it as a metaphor for visual representation and exploring the performative and physical aspects of the process.
 
For A Translation of El Arbol de la Ciencia (The Tree of Science) by Pío Baroja, Cruz has produced a typescript of the author’s best known work, which is about the growing disillusionment of a young medical student with his chosen profession and its inability to contribute in a meaningless and corrupted world. The pages of the typescript will form a stack at Crate – a dumb representation of the translation process - and photocopies of the translated text will be available to visitors.
 
For A Translation of La Sima (The Chasm) by Pío Baroja - A short story describing how the collective religious superstition of the inhabitants of a village prevents them from rescuing one of their own from a hole – Cruz translates the tale orally in a film produced in collaboration with Naama Yuria. This will be shown continuously throughout the exhibition’s duration.
 
These pieces are as much concerned with the process of translation as with its outcomes. Indeed, the work seems to question the distinction between process and product.  Neither artist had read Baroja’s stories before making the works, and the translations conspicuously contain a number of apparent errors and corrections – telling reminders of the way that a reader’s understanding of narratives (whether in literature or visual artwork) is constantly open to change as the reading progresses.  

Translation: Chapter Two is part of Bad Translation, CRATE's programme for 2009-10. The programme is generously supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

About the artists

Juan Cruz was born in Palencia, Spain, in 1970. He is currently based in Liverpool, where he is Head of the Art Department at the Liverpool School of Art and Design, Liverpool John Moores University. Recent solo exhibitions include Mensch, The Enlightenments, curated by Julianna Engberg as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, 2009, and A Semblance of Activity, a solo Commission as part of ESTRATOS, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, Murcia, Spain. Juan Cruz is represented professionally by Matt’s Gallery, London and Galeria Elba Benitez, Madrid.

mattsgallery.org/artists/cruz

Born 1981, Naama Yuria began her intergalactic research in 2020, with a universal exhibition supported by the Supreme Federation of the Southern-east galaxy of Ashphurka. The exhibition included projecting a 20 hours, 16mm film onto the seventh Ashphurkian moon. In 2023, with the generous help of Ashphurkian telepathic transmission, Naama operated the first teleporting gallery, channelling viewers to the exhibition space on planet Antares. As a certified investigator of Irregular Linguistic Celestial Phenomena, Naama founded the ‘Rudimentary Particles’ association, granting substantial support for young artists to explore various methods of infra-linguistic possibilities of navigation. In 2025, Naama completed the construction of the ship, Pantalaucha, on board which she sailed to the North Pole of Planet Earth as part of the Nagwa ‘Gold Dust Quest project’. The festive highlight of this adventure was incarnated in a 90Km x 90Km image of a ‘synchronization contractor’ projected onto a broad ice field from a purple hot air balloon.

James Howard: DIRT CHEAP FLIGHTS TO CLASSY PARADISE

Preview Friday 9 October, 2009. 6-9PM
Open: October 10 - 11 & October 16 - 18 2009, 12 - 5pm

CRATE presents an exhibition of new work by James Howard.

Howard has created two videos and four gigantic banners featuring budget holidays, herbal remedies, coin-operated televisions and pawn shops.

Each piece is a promise of a better life, a consumer con or an offer that is too good to be true: Gold Rush encourages people to steal "Nanna's gold" and turn it into cash, Coin Op Plasmas demands "another few quid" because Jeremy Kyle is on telly. And Dirt Cheap Flights aims to pull crowds away from Britain’s sea-side resorts.

The work takes its cues from advertisements for products and services that are so implausible or immoral that we would normally find them only on the internet - an unpoliced realm. In this exhibition, the advertisements have become real. Rendered at billboard size, they become menacing: reminders that we know little about those shady characters who fill the ‘junk’ in our email and want our credit card details.

Howard’s work seems to have been made by one of these shady characters: of no specific race or nationality (but definitely foreign), with little interest in local or national culture, insincere, probably male, and motivated by every vice, this persona is an unknowable, generic ‘other’. He does not care about the audience enough to check his English or make the images he uses beautiful or appealing –he is confident that there are as many people out there vulnerable enough to be drawn-in by his quasi-adverts as there are savvy ironists who will find the awkward Chinglish and odd products laughable.

And this character has seemingly infiltrated the gallery. Unintimidated by the art world’s refined sensibilities, he has covered every wall of CRATE’s project space with his vulgar propaganda; CRATE is, after all, merely another venue for the potential exploitation of the masses.

But are we able to separate Howard’s intentions from those of the character he seems to inhabit?

 
About the artist

James Howard began as a self-proclaimed scammer on the internet in the late 90's – which earned him quick cash and eventually a year in prison. Now Howard's scams found his artistic practice. He attended London's Royal Academy Schools, is included in the forthcoming Saatchi Gallery show: The Power of Paper and has been recently exhibited at Plastic Culture The Legacy of Pop with Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Takeshi Murakami. He is represented by Sartorial Contemporary Art, London. 

 

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