CRITICAL DECOR: WHAT WORKS! by Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock
Lanchester Gallery Projects is delighted/displeased to announce the final exhibition of our programme, CRITICAL DÉCOR: WHAT WORKS! by Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock.
CRITICAL DÉCOR: WHAT WORKS! is a determined bid to reformulate the conventions of the exhibition apparatus and disengage the relations of production with the relations of distribution, which are immobilised in their bind to one another in the art system.
Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock (JCHP) have set the theoretical groundwork for their project through the release of monthly posters containing vehement, but anxious to remain well-mannered, statements. Each declaration airs the cynicisms and predicaments that such a project - finally surrendering to the ritual of exhibiting in order to take it to task – is composed of. They’ve taken up (a raft of calculated) arms against the economic, ideological and social structures of the exhibition and in so doing, set up, either their own undoing, or perhaps the long-shot, advancement.
The project is fortified by a mob of heavyweight theories and individuals and knowing references. Bertolt Brecht, Terry Atkinson and Gustave Courbet play the big guys and provide a ready-made resistant and radical philosophical foundation. JCHP know what they’re up to having already released the following: ‘…DO THE REFERENCES BY JCHP FUNCTION ONLY AS AN OBSCURING LAYER OF DRESSING APPLIED BY JCHP, JUST ANOTHER SYMPTOM OF THE SAME TOTALLY UNRESTRAINED HONORIFIC USAGE OF THE TERM ART THAT JCHP CLAIM TO REJECT?...’ They’ve got it covered. As they have with all the bases - CRITICAL DÉCOR: WHAT WORKS! is purposefully and painfully programmed and has foreseen and unpicked all the vexed questions of exhibiting. And they’ve very simply dealt with each one. The reproduced life-sized drawing of Courbet’s Stonebreakers, that they have been grinding at daily on uniform paper rectangles and clocking in their hours, will not be exhibited in full, it will be in a closed drawer of a plan-chest in the gallery. No art object, no merchandise, solution! Brecht’s Messingkauf Dialogues will be performed each week, a careful alignment with JCHP’s concerns with deconstructing the mechanisms of production and distribution. Historical art works have been selected arbitrarily as an instrument to experiment with the dissemination of art. A neat arrangement of trestles and drawing boards consciously gesture to the production of work and defy its completion. Each element of the exhibition dissects its own posturing.
JCHP have invited individuals to take weekly public criticism sessions with them, to analyse and assess their artistic positioning and be a platform for reflexive enquiry. JCHP are braced for reform but expectant of not too much.
LGP and JCHP have danced an uneasy jig but remained faithful to the ceremony of the exhibition and its institutional administration. There’s no hiding LGP’s culpability of committing the heedless art-institutional offences that JCHP resist. LGP is correctly cast as the art institution that JCHP have always politely been at odds with. It’s some comfort that we’re both bold in our shamefacedness and that CRITICAL DÉCOR: WHAT WORKS! is LGP’s death notice.
CRITICAL DÉCOR: WHAT WORKS! is a legitimate and unglamorous proposition and a welcome use of LGP to test the canonical model of the exhibition and its correlation with the market’s demands. JCHP are a good bet to fracture off a space distinct from the prevailing modes of production and distribution and reminds us, and reinforces, that these systems are conventions that can be rethought and undone. The hope is that the strategic defeat, which has coloured the project from both sides since conception, can be overcome.
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