Fatal Attraction at Thames-Side Studios Gallery

Artists: Matt Ager, Ellie Barrett, Beth Collar, Billy Crosby, Sessa Englund, Doireann ni Ghrioghair, Milly Peck, Michael Pybus, Chris Thompson, Felix Treadwell

Exhibition title: Fatal Attraction

Curated by: Chris Thompson

Venue: Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London, UK

Date: August 4 – 26, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

It’s 10,000 BC.

Hunter-Gatherers on the European Ice are carving dolls out of stone, cold and one lost meal away from starvation; flash forward to the 1980s and we’re making films about dolls possessed by dead serial killers.

There’s definitely something to be said about our remarkable consistency. These two cultural moments at opposite ends of our history reflect both a continuity of practice and a very ingrained habit. We just can’t help ourselves, sucking up everything in the pursuit of our self-identification. We’re complete addicts.

But there’s a big problem.

In our mad scramble to stamp on and manufacture things to speak for us, in our fundamentally appropriative behaviour as a species we’re imbuing our objects, images and signs with an unholy potential. Flint heads to Flintstones and jeans to memes, as we seek to ritualistically define ourselves with stuff, like your worst nightmare they instead gain the power to dictate to us as a consequence of projection, appropriation, use and circulation.

But hold up– It’s been a while since we were starving and carving. Where all the monsters at? When the rivers of blood and token blondes have become fodder for memes and ancient trinkets are being pulled out of the ground, we know somethings afoot.

They’ve being boiled, sifted, re-claimed.

Turns out we have a secret weapon. When our favourite things start to influence and proliferate dangerously in our habits, our fatal attraction strikes; there’s a reason we found our stone doll in the mud. When we sense a threat to our hegemony we exhaust our target through overuse, and our over-agent entity gets consigned to our ever-growing dress-up box of cultural detritus, ready for us to play with like a killer dressing in its corpse. Just think of every sitcom catchphrase or 80’s horror film ever.

But what happens when you become aware of it?

This show is interested in the moment where culture becomes aware of its own autonomous mechanisms. As transient systems of distribution allow us to replace carving with ‘gramming as a primary means of stamping ourselves onto the world, do we not end up in a position where self-reflexive habits become an ingrained reality of contemporary existence? Does a learnt awareness and subsequent hijacking of our deconstructive pathology offer artists a route through which to pause, change or dissect the cycle of appropriation and cannibalism?

What happens if we just dial it up?

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

Billy Crosby, Signage, Acrylic on Cardboard, Nails

Billy Crosby, Signage (Close up) Acrylic on Cardboard, Nails

Chris Thompson, Untitled (Doggos) (Close up), Jesmonite

Doireann Ni Ghrioghair, Deflated Capital VII, Jesmonite, Pigment

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

Matt Ager, Clean, Plaster, Acrylic, Print on Paper, Gold Chain, Dowel

Ellie Barrett, Pattys Panties, Salt Dough

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

Milly Peck, Untitled, Acrylic, MDF

Felix Treadwell, Commuter, Oil on Canvas

Sessa Englund, Born Slippy Slippy Slippy Slippy (Close up), Latex, Chain,Flora

Billy Crosby, Shy Stele (Close up), Polystyrene Sheet

Beth Collar, Seriously

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

Sessa Englund, Born Slippy Slippy Slippy Slippy (Close up), Latex, Chain,Flora

Doireann Ni Ghrioghair, Donut Capital, Plaster, Pigment

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

Beth Collar, Seriously

Michael Pybus, Spill, Acrylic on Canvas

Ellie Barrett, Papa Nosedrop, Salt Dough

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

Chris Thompson, Untitled (Doggos), Jesmonite

Billy Crosby, Best Echo You Ever Heard (Close up) polystyrene sheet

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

Fatal Attraction, 2018, exhibition view, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London

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