The Tarpey Gallery have put on my latest exhibition of specially commissioned paintings, entitled ‘Specialists in Failure’. I wrote the concept and developed the ideas behind the exhibition, based on Paul Verhaegue’s book ‘What About Me?’.
The exhibition runs 28.02.15 – 04.04.15 – more details available here
Specialists in Failure
Since the emergence of Western christian philosophy, our ethics, norms and values have, on the whole, been dominated by the idea that man is inherently flawed and must seek some kind of salvation. Today our Western society and it’s overarching narrative is that of the free market and its essential role in allowing us as individuals to shape and develop our lives by our own efforts and exclusively within the parameters of a consumer society. We are sold the dream, and daily reassured just how far from that ideal our humble efforts are.
The works developed in this exhibition are responses to the call of the neo-liberal meritocratic society that Paul Verhaeghe rallies against in his book ‘What About Me’.
It records in small fragments expressions of this new market driven society, and the wider geopolitical context, one which Dominique Moisi refers to as a ‘culture of fear, hope and humiliation that is reshaping the world’.
Whether it is the systemic failure of large financial institutions, or the failures of individuals in politics and economics, our lives are being shaped and our opinions bent to the tune of a new reality in which not only is our society failing, but we as individuals are broken and in need of the tonic that western consumer society can offer.
Additional text was written for the show by Andrew Lee:
…In fact we have become part of a system we despise, that fails to nourish us; but we cannot escape. We clamber up the sides of the river to slip down again into the soup, kicking and screaming and frothing up the water. Those few that make it up the side do so only by finding a foothold in the backs of those clawing at the banks. Those on the foreshore then look down with some disdain at the melee below. We dislike what we have become and we behave in ways we disapprove of. Our lives are filled with contradiction. We crave rules and yet we crave autonomy. We want ethical work, yet we buy goods manufactured under exploitative conditions.
The efficacy of success strips away any sense of community and we build a world we often don’t believe in.
Full text available here: computer says no