Take Courage proudly presents Adam Latham's new solo exhibition, Are you our missing winner? Latham has created an installation in which the walls of the gallery space are covered by brightly coloured shimmer curtains, gently swaying in the breeze from an oscillating fan. The hallucinatory atmosphere is accentuated by a soundtrack of instrumental versions of songs from the 1949 musical South Pacific, re-recorded by exotica group The Surfmen in the early 1960s. The central focus of the exhibition is a large panel of purple shimmer curtains set away from the wall slightly, and thus taking on the status of an autonomous object, somewhere between a stage backdrop and a canvas. The fan and a congratulatory bouquet of flowers also act as sculptural objects, breaking up the space of the exhibition.
The title of the exhibition, with its lure of the possibility of personal gain, sets the scene for two new poster-drawings in the style of vintage advertisements, inviting the viewer to âbe a winner in Hawaii', and suggesting that âIf you don't like where you live you should move'. These works depict two opposing stereotypes of distant lands: an exotic idyll and a hellish, famine-stricken plain. In its juxtaposition of exaggerated orientalist imagery with the theatricalised nostalgia of the rest of the installation, the show as a whole may be seen to evoke ideas of cultural incommensurability and their various manifestations in the ideology of consumerism.
Latham's work is endearingly humorous and grimly repulsive in equal measure. It takes on a broad range of source material: adverts, cartoons, propaganda, as well as the work of artists as diverse as Archimbaldo, Gauguin and Robert Crumb. In his referencing of examples of kitsch, pop and folk culture, Latham looks at how they are uprooted and mythologized within the contemporary mainstream. The work unearths what is repressed in these present-day appropriations: currents of fear and desire that come to life as obscene, grotesque and taboo imagery.
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