Contribution to a group exhibition.
Exhibition statement: If art, as Jean Baudrillard puts it, is the perfect crime, it is because art aspires to be the perfect illusion. It is the ability for painting to trick the eye and mind, to act, according to Lacan as a “trap for the gaze”, that determines a painting’s quality. This is what the public mean when they praise an artist for their ‘skill’ – what they admire precisely is the ability to deceive. Baudrillard describes the artist as the one who resists with all their might the urgent desire not to leave traces. The world is full of traces, the marks of things that exist beyond the world of appearances. Painting clearly is a medium made up solely of traces – the traces of a brush and of paint – so how can a perfect illusion be created out of this? A perfectly rendered surface is not always the solution. The sense of totality, of beginning and end compressed together, the sudden revelation of a previously hidden structure – these also can mitigate against the awkwardness of the hand-made to create something pure complete or beautiful.
The Perfect Crime, curated by Phillip Allen and Dan Coombs, brings together a selection of small-scale works by a group of prominent artists working today in London and elsewhere. In creating the show the curators hope to present a visually dazzling exhibition that indicates some of the possibilities available to artists working today.