MATT WELCH don’t we We run run things things?!25. Jul - 16. Aug 14 / ended VITRINE Bermondsey Square
A solo exhibition by Matt Welch, juxtaposing materials used in the construction of domestic spaces with symbols that refer to subcultural identities. Welch marks their visual resemblance by questioning them through different scenarios, giving low-value items a presence that makes them simultaneously autobiographical and universal. The multi media installation - consisting of silent video, elements of sculpture, and wall painting - confronts our use of materials and their histories with a distinctive yet humorous critique.
The title of this solo exhibition by Matt Welch is a lyric taken from Miley Cyrus’ 2013 song We Can’t Stop. The words of the original line “we run things, things don’t run we” have been swapped around and ordered to read; don’t we run things?! - with the duplicated words retained to suggest an exaggeration of speech. For this new installation at Vitrine Project Space, Welch has created a sprawl of multiple components exploring the length of the unusual window space gallery. The installation is built on a structure of beams and planks of timber that destabilise its usual material use in the construction of walls for galleries and domestic spaces alike, attempting to modify and mutate; becoming sculptural or design-like whilst retaining its formal limits, occupying horizontal and vertical planes.
This expanding construction has been altered and decorated in areas; used as a shelf, table, wall to hang an image or object from. Welch uses garment studs attached to the structure with industrial adhesives and grout which evoke a humorous play between DIY aesthetics and their absorption into high street fashion and design. Welch is interested in do it yourself as an outlet for alteration, customisation and self-governance of you’re own space as something which is politicised by precarious tenancy agreements and what rights are given to you to design, alter and ornament you’re living spaces. His practice uses multifarious sub and pop cultural references supported through imagery and video clips, lyrics from songs and quotes from texts. These references entertain the possibility of their own specificity within the work; at times they become facetious, or deeply irrelevant.
The song which the exhibition title references was originally written with Rihanna in mind but in the end was used by Cyrus as it represented her changing style and increasingly bad girl image. Welch has used elements of Miley Cyrus and Rihanna songs in previous work and is interested in pop stars increasing use of counter-cultural aesthetics within the public eye as a way of shifting or manipulating identity albeit in an impotent, pan-radical way. Cyrus’ song We cant stop suggests the party will go on forever and that her sovereignty is unaccountable. Welch is interested in the use of lyrics in pop music as powerful ideological space and their ability to produce agency that is both personal and universal – full and empty of content at the same time.
In a similar vain Welch’s work makes reference to the anarcho punk band Crass and their circular serpent logo across the gallery wall through a large wall painting. This painting came from an interest in customizable wall vinyl’s that can be bought for domestic interiors from websites like ebay. These range from landscape scenes and flowers to large portraits of Kurt Cobain all produced as silhouette’s in cut black vinyl. Their material slickness refers to advertising and commercial uses and creates a strange counterpart as domestic decoration.
As an addition to the exhibition Matt Welch and Curator Vlada Maria Tcharyeva have collaborated on a free mixtape, containing a selection of pop songs by Tcharyeva which have been edited, altered and overdubbed by the artist.
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