What a weird morning, woke up in this strange alternative reality where some badly dressed Fox News puppet of a guy from a reality TV show with a bad bully wig on his messy foul-mouthed head had become president of the USA, what a dreadful nightmare, head still aching from it. Put my head back under the pillow for a bit, what a strange strange disorienting nightmare of a dream, where the hell did that awful vision come from? Way beyond Hunter S Thompson and those Brazilian witch-doctors, what a frightening nightmare! All okay now, had my coffee, thrown on some Crass, thank heavens this is the real world and nothing like nightmare I just woke up from, thank heavens that could never actually really happen. What a nightmare, it was like some extension of a bad 1980’s science Fiction movie idea of what 2016 might actually be like, who makes up that crap? These things could never actually happen, what kind of nightmare was that, some kind of horrible nightmare world where Dave Mustaine actually gets his damn wall to keep out the Mexicans. ..
Meanwhile over in Colchester, opening thing Friday night….
Gee Vaucher retrospective at Firstsite, Colchester, November 2016 – January 2017
Promised more on that Gee Voucher show that opens on Friday in Colchester, here’s some coverage from the Crass website The Hippies Now Wear Black while we check that last night really was just a ridiculous nightmare…
In Autumn 2016 Firstsite, Colchester’s pre-eminent gallery for contemporary art, will host a retrospective of the work of Gee Vaucher, which will be curated by Stevphen Shukaitis and Gavin Grindon. Gee Vaucher is an internationally renowned political artist, known for her ‘radical creativity’, montages, and iconic record sleeve artwork for the famous anarchist-pacifist band Crass.
Vaucher has always seen her work as a tool for social change, using surrealist styles and methods, and a DIY aesthetic to create powerful images exploring political and personal issues. Gee Vaucher who has been working as an artist in the UK since the 1960’s is yet to have a major retrospective of her work in a UK public institution.
This exhibition will re-affirm her position as a counter-cultural artistic force whose influence on local, national and international visual art and cross-disciplinary contexts deserves to be explored. The exhibition will celebrate the rich history of art and activism both on a local and national level. It will not only look back to the radical spirit of the 60s, 70s and 80s, but is also an opportunity to engage audiences in important social debates taking place today.
Taking a focus on art’s power to reflect on, contribute to and inform public debate, this is an opportunity to explore challenging work, which is highly accessible and thought provoking due to the social issues it covers. Vaucher will receive an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Essex in July 2016, to celebrate her Essex roots, recognize the importance of her work, and reflect the radical past of the University, which it continues to celebrate as ‘the Essex Spirit’.”
The Exitstencil Press site promises: “Lots more news and events as the show comes together.”
.Gee Vaucher: Introspective at Firstsite, Colchester – 12th November 2016 – 19th February 2017 10am – 5pm (Free)
Exhibition Opening: Friday 11 November, 6 – 9pm
“Introspective is Gee Vaucher’s first major institutional show in the UK, and spans the artist’s career of more than forty years. It charts Vaucher’s journey from local activity to international ambition, from domestic concerns to world politics, and from healing the planet to healing the mind. Including collage, photography, photomontage, painting, sculpture, film, performance, typography, sound and installation, the imagery she creates ranges from the absurd and often comical to the harrowing. Her message spans the political and the personal, the environmental and the humanitarian.
Originating from the counterculture of the 1960s’, the importance of Vaucher’s work within the historical context of collage and photomontage practices as critique of the status quo is undeniable. However it is yet to be fully recognised by the mainstream. This exhibition redresses this imbalance, and where better than in Essex where Vaucher has spent most of her life.
Known primarily for her work with anarcho-pacifist punk band Crass (1977-1984), Vaucher is a cult figure who commands a great deal of respect for her political activism, alternative way of life, and skill as an artist. Introspective presents never-before seen footage of early 1960s’ performances in Colchester with avant-garde group EXIT, which would go on to form Crass. As well as brand new photographic and sound pieces that reflect on the changing city-scape of New York, where she spent formative years in the late 1970’s working as a political illustrator for publications like The New York Times and New York Magazine.
The exhibition reveals original material that would become the iconic record covers of the 1980’s, and political posters which have influenced countless activist artists. From the political assault on the masses to the psychological assault on the individual, recent paintings and drawings emulate the dismembering and disfiguring technique of collage resulting in grotesque bodies and faceless individuals. Part-dog, part-baby sculptures laugh back at us in-amongst other works dedicated to animal rights.
As well as rare and radical material from the artist’s archive, the exhibition focuses on a particular series of works and shows them in their most complete configuration to-date. Including her series of paintings Children (who have seen too much too soon). Complementing Vaucher’s work are a selection of original books and prints by Max Ernst from his series Une semaine de bonté. Both contextualisation the artist’s practice in the history of collage but crucially illustrating Ernst’s influence on Vaucher’s working method and its resulting form: the artist book.
Throughout her career, the book and its rudimentary template, the ‘zine’, have been defining formats for the outcomes of Vaucher’s various projects, providing her with the autonomy and control to produce and disseminate work through her own channels and on her own terms. From the DIY circulation of ‘International Anthem’ (1977 – 1983) to the most recent ‘A Week of Knots’ (2013 –) published through Vaucher’s own Exitstencil Press”.
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