Implausible Imposters’ anecdotal roots plunge deep into contemporary debates on authenticity and invite visitors to co-author a great deal of the exhibition’s substance and meaning. The DIY aesthetic of Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau’s homemade Play-Doh and synthetic hair sculptures introduces visitors to the space and foregrounds the central theme binding these works - things are only what you make of them. Behind these rudimental yet philosophical shrines to human transience, three amoebic drawings hang with disparate text that confounds the possibility for a linear narrative. Instead, loose associations are born from these building blocks, but discarded almost instantly, allowing new ones to form.
Like Giraudeau, Grant Foster and Jonathan Baldock repurpose familiar materials to narrative ends that ignore their utilitarian function. Foster’s looming heads on stakes evoke the biblical narrative, yet rework the spirituality that emanates from this origin myth. Baldock’s floor sculpture uses similar materials, yet combines them in a way that recalls childhood innocence and the relation of said virtue to themes of punishment, embodied by his garish synthetic hair whips.
The show stopping piece is Bedwyr Williams’ video Diminuendo. He combines incredibly poignant character descriptions—delivered in his own haunting voice—with images so objective yet nostalgic that the imagination floods in to fill the gaps between what is seen and what is heard. Again, employing origin myths as a point of departure, Williams begins his piece by asking – What came first, the chicken or that egg smell? The piece progresses through a series of vignettes, describing a motley cast of conflicted characters—a guilt ridden painter/decorator, a deluded photographer and a doomed heroine. This work oozes originality and somehow—in spite of it’s heavily detailed descriptions—leaves ample space for the visitor to envision, fear and love the ways by which these fictional narratives could exist, not only in the dark world Williams has created but also in their own reality.
Similarly, Mel Brimfield’s The Love Lives of the Artists series is acutely rooted in a fiction whose self-awareness and self-denial is so strong that the allegory is able to perpetuate itself almost undetected. Implausible Imposters is more an animated experiment in oral tradition than a thematic group exhibition on inanimateness. The show collates an impressive array of narrative- and fiction-based works that reaffirm the power of the imagination. Collectively these works are impressive in their fight against objectification and actually disprove the exhibition’s title, as these artists make the implausible plausible and show that even stand-ins for representation are both valuable and viable in their own right.
Published in Distorted, July 2013 Issue
Exhibition on view at Ceri Hand Gallery, 12 July - 10 August 2013