In Residence

3 May 2008 – 15 Jun 2008

Event times

Sat & Sun 12-6

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Martina Mullaney comes from a new generation of British based artists - Irish, she is nonetheless part of a cosmopolitan city of artists. London - in part because of the impact of the YBAs - has become home to artists from across Europe. The more intelligent of those artists do not, thankfully, follow the strategies of the YBAs. There is no crass vulgarity; there are few wannabe celebrities, Charles Saatchi is not the only buyer of their work. Equally the best of those artists (and I'd include Mullaney here) don't follow the easy pieties more recently encouraged by government strategies that see art as an extension of social work, nor do they necessarily submit to the neo-conservatism that increasingly dominates the gallery market. Mullaney's projects may often dwell on and engage the 'socially excluded' (to borrow a dire phrase from the government literature) but they certainly aren't premised on the facile notion that access to art can ameliorate the effects of capitalist culture. As we'll see in terms of its far from naive relation to both its subjects and the art world, Mullaney's work operates in a more complex field of relationality. Her work simultaneously functions as documentary and as formal object, but also as a critique on the impotence of documentary, on the genre's capacity for recuperation through making the victim into a spectacle of identification. The displacement of Mullaney's subjects into signs is vital to this critique, even as it more accurately describes the status of those subjects than any literal representation. Chris Townsend

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