Tuesday, 3 March 2015

viewing shed loads of Jason Rhoades : four roads and a V8 engine

I was reading Lady Banana's blog a few days ago where she was discussing the 'shall I/shan't I?' question about whether to keep her blog running.

I have a similar thoughts occasionally, but know that the blog provides a quiet backbeat for my various activities. It was never planned, but it provides a kind of extra stimulus as I go about my various situations.

I'll admit, I sometimes sit down with a blank head and nothing to say. Other times I have a log-jam of ideas and even several partly written posts, many of which don't make it out of draft status.

Take the other day. We'd haphazardly stumbled upon a new show at a gallery, after meeting for coffee.

It's a show of work by the late Jason Rhoades (1965-2006) and officially opens on 6 March.

The first item was a sort of shed containing a V8 engine. I thought it fitting for an artist described as having a lifestyle in the fast lane to have a running V8 engine block amongst the work. Like it had kind of sprung from the car and landed on the wood blocks. An 'almost makes you lose your mind' kind of moment.

This was the kind of show where you could feel like there was a dialogue with the artist. Instead of it being all about "look at what I've made", it was much more a kind of playful discovery.

If the CHERRY Makita - Honest Engine Work looks messy, it is still only on a low setting compared with some of his later work which can feel something like walking through a crash site. There's a piece called the Creation Myth, which takes up a large room and tries to illustrates how humananity processes information, forms memory and synthesises new ideas, whilst simultaneously dealing with the messy process of actual living.

It's a visceral piece, not for the faint hearted and the creative aspects include a hydraulic hay baler which appears determined to fuse with whatever is happening in the next gallery. There's scars on the wall to prove it.

As well as the larger items, there were a selection of smaller pieces; a kind of deflated Jeff Koons silver rabbit re-imagining and a pink reference book which I'm sure would be used on the other 'over-18s' floor of the show. This other floor wasn't formally opened when we visited, and I'm guessing that some of the proposed material may have needed to be carefully considered.

Rhoades seemed to use dissonance and effects to shock and there's a real possibility of some of the over-18s floor being curated out, given these sensitive times.

For an artist who is no longer with us, this adds to the character of the pieces and turns them into a kind of life performance.

I'd provide a warning about this show. I'm pretty sure it will divide people starkly based upon whether they can find the dialogue that the artist probably intended.

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