Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century the hallucinated economy of the 'globalised' world suffered a serious fracture. This economy, built on imaginary assets and predicated entirely on the erroneous supposition that there will be a reliable supply of cheap oil, gas and coal forever, collapsed after imbibing a dangerous cocktail of greed, lies, mendacity and corruption.
The patient is now in a critical condition, a state which is certainly not helped by the continual injection of more of the same. I remember watching Warner Brothers cartoons, in which it was possible for crazy characters to run straight off a cliff, and then hover in mid-air for a time, whilst still frantically running. Before falling a very long way.
By coincidence, at around the time that coverage of all this reached the popular press I had been spending time making large pictures of what, for convenience's sake I was calling 'Pandemons'; horned creatures, animals that were a composite of goat (herbivore) lion/tiger/shark etc (carnivore) and businessman (omnivore). I have always been fascinated by the horned gods, by the Minotaur in the darkness, by the beast that lurks in the shadows, by the presence that waits in the maze.
I've got nothing against goats. I've got nothing against tigers, or sharks. I simply discovered that if I drew a goat, gave it the mouth of a rapacious carnivore and then dressed it in the suit and tie of a disgraced banker (or politician) it looked fucking evil.
Bankers and politicians wear suits and ties so they don't look like criminals. The Pandemons are horrible, feral, carnivorous lupine beasts, consumed by a naked, guiltless, ravening greed. They are partly the faces you fear you'll see when you pull open the curtains at night, partly the laughing visage of decaying Western capitalism, they are the draught created by the vast movements of cash into the off-shore bank accounts of the despicable, the stench of bonuses, payoffs and bribes; they are incompetant, parasitic vampires.
There were thirteen Pandemons in the show I did in Bristol called 'El Chupacabra'. Thirteen ghosts at the funeral. Thirteen spectres at the feast of the goat. Loitering on the blackened cliffs of free-market economics, cackling as they raise a glass to toast Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Augusto Pinochet.
Gallons of paint I've poured over them to drown their snickering. But still they laugh.