DEATH BE KIND, Elvis Richardson, Claire Lambe




15th February - 6th March 2011

Raphael Buttonshaw, Brent Harris, Helen Johnson, Andrew McQualter, Joshua Petherick, Dioni Salas, Kate Smith

Opening 6pm Tuesday 15 February 2011

Curated by Helen Johnson
The initiation of this exhibition arose from an interest in 'the end of painting' and, more specifically, what it means to be working as a painter in a contemporary context, with some distance from the narratives of modernism. It is grounded in the consideration of all the baggage, debates and difficulties becoming a part of the medium itself - what can be done today with all of this stuff? Not least the narrative of 'the end' that was never really actuated; which is to say, what is being thought is painting as a symbolic space rather than a specific medium, with an understanding of the historical narratives
of painting as having participated in the production of that space.

As Helmut Draxler has written, 'A post-avantgardist approach to art criticism, then, must seek first and foremost to reveal the logics of the specifically modern divisions between high and low art, between gestures of new beginning and rhetorics of ruin, between universal competency and forever particular manifestations; and thus to reconstruct painting as such as a symbolic formation that both lets us understand these divisions and offers a different model of interrelation: in the modes of a specific form of thought, of complex and varied conjunctions between discourse and praxis, or of the articulations of the different forms of relation between image, art, and production.

Instead of the direct logics of the embodiment of emphatic life, heroic individualism, or then again of pop and trash, logics that were characteristic of the various modernist and avant-gardist strategies, painting as such offers a mode of interrelation that presupposes the growing differentiation of its individual elements and is precisely therefore capable of restoring the constellation that binds them. Today, however, painting as such no longer constitutes a clearly defined aesthetic category to which we would have unimpeded access.

It is an open cultural field between painting as it really exists, the “new genres”, and a media-disseminated pop culture; the largely dismembered elements of the apparatus of painting can be found scattered across this field. That is to say, we must first track down its loose threads in all these domains, establish their interrelations, and ascribe the aesthetic events in a historic conception that by no means traces everything new in reductionist fashion to something old. Instead, we can understand the new, rather than its mythologized forms, in the
historical grammar of its transformations, in which we can keep the process of the differentiation between the discourses, of discourse and praxis, of intention and effect visible.'[1].
Text by Helen Johnson






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