Further Thoughts on Sprayed at Gagosian, Britannia Street London

Sprayed

WORKS FROM 1929 TO 2015
JUNE 11 – AUGUST 1, 2015

6-24 Britannia Street
London

By Simon Linke

The first impression when entering the gallery is of a cornucopia of deliciousness. Everywhere there seem to be great paintings, vibrant, recognisable and full of energy. However as I wandered around looking at one great thing after another, marvelling at the talent, the chutzpah, not to mention the sheer sass of unabashed self projection I noticed I was being overwhelmed by feelings of exhaustion and ennui.

Sprayed at Gagosian

Sprayed at Gagosian

At first I wondered if it was envy, or resentment of other’s talent, or just jealousy about being excluded from the pantheon of greatness. It may be all those things but there was something else too. I couldn’t work out how the individual works which seemed engaging when viewed directly became something else altogether en masse. 

My mind kept playing across the title of the show and I had two recurring and associative thoughts. Sprayed became spayed which in turn made me think about dogs and cats marking their territory. Those two thoughts felt like a weight lifted, an insight that revealed the narrative of my exhaustion. In this new perspective I could see that the work was a trojan horse. Instead of being the point of the show they were the servants of an agenda that subjugated the otherness of the artists included to an ambition that was as conventional as it was atavistic.

The transformative power that the work promised was instead neutered by a towering and omnipotent compulsion to mark territory and claim omnipotence. This is the real content of the show and the unconscious narrative that overwhelms all the work. Perhaps this is the appeal to the high net worth individuals who are the galleries patrons, a kind of endorsement of their power over the otherness and disavowal of normative values that creativity represents.

Simon Linke

Simon Linke is an artist living in London.

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