AboutBrown?s new body of work takes the Warholian notion of the hip clique ? Andy?s Factory- as a vehicle for artistic incubation and public identity and traces its lineage through a range of manifestations.
The results are often an intriguing deluge of carefully structured interrelated images such as in one of the key pieces for the forthcoming exhibition, the ?All Tomorrow?s After Parties? wallpaper. Its design, printed on silver mylar paper, presents a stunning collage of time-warped starlets of their own demimondes. Familiar faces from Warhol?s original incarnation of The Factory jostle for top spot with characters associated with Kippenberger?s S036 bar scene. Notorious New York club brats try to out pout the competitors from London?s Taboo and Blitz kid days. And, even a few hot properties from the current Shoreditch circuit hope for recognition over the iconic images of John Waters? crew or the Red Army Faction.
A piece from Brown?s previous body of work was the ?Give me your blacklisted? wallpaper, a work based on her own family?s experiences arising from their involvement in the American McCarthyite witch hunts of the 1950?s. If that work reminded us of the chilling question, ?Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?? this work seems to ask the even more chilling question, ?Are you, or have you ever been, seen at the right party?? And there?s only one way to find out. You?re either on it or you?re right off it.
The wallpaper in the new body of work acts as a kind of visual map to her discussion, but other works included reference the Warholian lineage through other means. Her new ?screen test? works are a direct reference to Warhol?s eponymous film works. In these works, Brown replicates Warhol?s distillation of Hollywood?s power into the moment in which screen personas are quietly born. However, in her works, Warhol?s ?superstars? are replaced by Brown?s characteristic sculptures that create a composite non-existent person by fusing the moulds taken from a range of individual faces. In Brown?s reworking of the form, the only moving parts are her own eyes that have been filmed and inserted into the heads of her own ?superstars? created through a Frankenstein-like process.
As in previous bodies of work, a darker undercurrent coexists with decoration. In works such as ?Shoreditch Slump? an apparently overdosed or paralytic drunk young man stands as much for a sly comment on contemporary media-fuelled excess in the hip neighbourhood of London as it does to connecting with the body of work?s starting point. We are reminded as we trace through the cliques ?starting with Warhol?s original Factory- of the perhaps inevitable relationship between creativity and various forms of self-destruction. Or, perhaps, more accurately of the media glamourization of accidental death and destructive excess that, arguably, was born in its current form with Warhol?s gang of freaks holed up in a tin foil covered ?film factory? in New York.
Brown?s piece reminds us that the world?s shocked response to Brigid Berlin?s on-screen injecting may have been a definitive moment in which bourgeois society failed to make the distinction between illegal drugs and what Berlin a.k.a. Polk later claimed were vitamin B-12 shots. But, it also reminds us that the artistic imperative ?as in Warhol or Kippenberger?s case- is often eager to explore all aspects of the complex relationship between creativity and self-destruction; existing in a state on anachronism characterized by a demand for public recognition yet simultaneously rejecting a society?s moral standards or social rules.