AUTO-FELLATIO: BOY IN DA CORNER

May 3, 2009 - May 16, 2009

Richard Gasper
Andrew Mania
Daniel Pasteiner
Eddie Peake
Daniel Sinsel
Paul Thek

Curated by Richard Gasper


Richard Gasper curates a group exhibition that addresses the theme of masculinity through works by six modern and contemporary artists. The title of the exhibition, Auto-fellatio, introduces a motif of masculinity independent and autonomous, yet trapped in a cycle of compulsive self-indulgence � a narcissus for the age of over-consumption. Boy in da Corner, denoting the first of two shows within the Auto-fellatio project, references the musician Dizzee Rascal�s seminal debut album, itself an ambiguous emblem of strength and creativity that is at the same time shot through with vulnerability and existential angst.

The exhibition features the work of Paul Thek, an enigmatic though influential protagonist of incipient postmodernism, who died in 1988. Thek�s work repeatedly plays with the phallic vernacular of minimalism, juxtaposing it with abject, obsessive and schizoid imagery, organic objects, and excessive accretions of matter that frequently veer into formlessness.

This aesthetic attitude suggested by Thek�s work has served as one of the starting points for the curatorial process behind Boy in da Corner. Departing from the conventions of �white cube� gallery display, the arrangement of works takes a form more akin to an immersive installation, where the aesthetic autonomy of participating works is blurred, parodied, exaggerated and subverted. Inspiration is taken from the everyday milieus of hotel bars, furnishing shops, boys� bedrooms and bachelor pads; the space populated with objects whose status hovers between that of artworks and furniture or d�cor. In an echo of Thek's use of vitrines and framing structures, large planes of perspex are used to fragment the space and phenomenologically 'reframe' individual works.

The show evokes masculinity in part as determined in relation to objects and representations through a process of consumer choices. Daniel Pasteiner superimposes the transcendence of abstract painting on the idea of stereotypically and banally masculine pursuits, such as competitive game-playing and constructing things, symbolised by the Scalextric track from which he builds his compositions.

Eddie Peake domesticates a kind of Naumanesque oppressive phenomenology in constructing a false wall leaning against the actual wall of the space. With the obstructed side smartly finished and wallpapered, it leaves its rough behind facing outwards into the space. Peake's gesture of Faktura is mirrored in the curatorial act of hanging Daniel Sinsel's paintings on perspex, inviting the gaze to consider their material construction, attempting to shift their status slightly, towards sculptures or readymades.

Andrew Mania continues this dialectic of fantasy and fabrication with his assemblages combining dream-like portraits with abstract compositional elements, enshrining masculine beauty via a unique vernacular of homemade classicism. In Mania's work, and in the works of the other artists on show, there is a recurring sense of material fabrication 'split open' to reveal the basis of production in desire.


Image (right): Paul Thek, Untitled (Potato Flag) (detail). Photograph by Bill Orcutt, courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York.�
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