Tuesday, 31 July 2012
I am too late, I am too old, I am late. Perhaps I am apprehensive and weary. We drink coffee from paper cups while we sit in a polystyrene medieaval castle. There aren't many people. The Burger King has a thatched roof and I briefly wonder about the employment prospects for thatchers in this wet, cold and foggy part of the country. I once wanted to be a thatcher, but today I am glad I am a nothing. Whatever. There is a glass roof arching over everything here anyway. And I wouldn't want to thatch a Burger King in a polystyrene castle. Motorway on such a grey day with fog and the town we drove through was dead and then a sliproad and huge signs loom out of the fog saying designer outlet village. We park in the carpark with the other cars. After walking to the designer outlet village there is music outside in the fog but it isn't very good music and even without fog it wouldn't be very good. Inside there are a lot of clothes to buy but I don't buy any because they aren't very good. There are a few people from the dead town here and they aren't buying any of the clothes either. Everyone is very subdued. This is quite nice, she says to me, holding something with sleeves up for me to look at but I can't find any words. Perhaps I am apprehensive and weary. We drink coffee from paper cups while we sit in a polystyrene medieaval castle.
Justin Strom: poured painting
Stanley Donwood: el chupacabra
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.