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Everything is NOT F**ked
Mary Fletcher describes the opening night of 'Everything is F**ked' at CMR in Redruth, Cornwall
'Everything is F**ked' shared a preview night with a Back Lane West residency, which brought in more people, and a lively sense of walking up and down to visit both shows.quickly warmed to a buzzing atmosphere, dramatically silenced by the appearance of a woman, naked apart from a head-obscuring headdress, feeling her way outside into the cold evening to empty out water from a container, returning inside to sit in the window under a dripping tin of black treacle, and then donning a wetsuit (picture right).
The audience was entirely respectful and attentive and no doubt unphased by this performance art, but the attendance of two youths who were passing by chance, added a less 'art-schooled' reaction, and their amazement, consternation and politely-controlled laughter in the face of adult seriousness were authentically apparent.
I suppose every watcher has their own reaction. Jacqui Orly's performance was certainly memorable, puzzling, brave and done beautifully. It had a title 'Everything is not black and white' and it somehow related to her room with photocopies of cloth in black through to white tones and shells with amplified sounds. I think J. Orly is one of those artists whose work evolves through surreal half-conscious associations which are inexplicable but leave a strong albeit bewildering impression.
Other works were on video. Alice Mahoney had a complex montage of high end consumerism, whilst Stuart Blackmore showed the frustration of a tangled Newton's cradle. He had also made the entrance to the show dramatically dark with flashing words in lights (below left).
Mary Fletcher had caught two pigeons in mating behaviour on the wall at the back of CMR, which seemed to invite the audience to identify with them, and aptly fitted the theme. Her other work included a subversion of the show's title by adding 'NOT' in red with a red wedge recalling 1917 Russian revolution art (picture below right), a drawing recalling her abandoned suicide attempt as a young woman when struck by tragedy and grief, her anti-bull fighting piece and two images about the refugee crisis. She had a list of 'positive verbs for action in the world' which was a new take on Serra's verbs for action which applied to his work in sculpture.
Fred McVittie had been out on the hillside as a scientist despairingly arriving from a great distance away to hold up a misspelt sign about the state of everything, which, coinciding with the title of the show, was not a surprise but brought over a desperate, sad appeal to the unknown watchers. Also he had transformed himself into a human swastika, as he impotently struggled to move in an inadequate space. Fred also had some baseball caps, embroidered with 'make America good again' and 'make Redruth great again'.
Merryn Tresidder had three paintings with implied interconnections and complex titles.'The Solution to “Brexit” explained with rope, 1.CTRL[and Seize the means of Production], 2. ALT [Ownership of Land and Property], 3. DEL [Any Remaining Framework Allowing Existence of the Bourgeoisie}'
David Axtell had a range of collages and montaged puns and comments referencing,Viagra, Trump and Farage and other things including a rewriting in less optimistic mode of a work from Yoko Ono. Liam Jolly had a mystifying combination of curved and straight bananas with a canvas representation of a computer screen and a website address reference that needed technology to make sense of. -uently absurd photographs using bricks, grapes, eggs and concrete which seemed to be metaphors for impossible situations.
Jonathan Hayter had a whole room installation and used fluorescent paint and ultra violet lighting to great effect so that his expressionist anguished imagery using images of war, of religion and phallic sculpture made a powerful glowing experience once you committed to going through the curtain to be immersed in it.
I think the show was lively and left people with memories and images that might embody something of our difficult times and showed artists grappling with how to express some things that were questioning and painful.
For more photos of the show see http://www.artcornwall.org/exhibitions/Everything_is_f__ked.htm
For a fuller write-up and other reviews see http://4maryfletcher.blogspot.co.uk/