AboutWe find it hard to look at what comes after. Our consciousness doesn't really allow it. To perceive life after death is something that has long occupied the minds of philosophers and academics the world over, and of course is a favourite subject of the world's religions, a discussion as fascinating as it is long. A post apocalyptic future has always been a timely staple of Hollywood also, drawing in voyeuristic audiences and reaping the rewards. And it is this vision of the future, one that is usually without fail ominous and full of foreboding, that runs throughout the two artists' work on show here.
Cast your mind forward to a future in which humans are largely extinct for whatever reasons you care to conjure - a future in which optimism and hope are but distant and vaguely remembered words, and in which machines are now the de facto. With the last of the survivors driven underground, the final trace of the human race is their markings and drawings they left behind, a secret last call to arms that manages to pass under the machines' radar. A combination of archaic seeming symbols infused with jarring colours promise a message that asks to be deciphered, reminding us of ancient languages that have fallen to the passing of time. The way the paintings are composed suggests a hierarchy of leader and subject in a society that is now struggling to survive, or perhaps it's more a reference to the constant tension the paintings demand: a ruling of rank and protocol between artist and viewer. Talismans and sacred symbols have been commonplace in every religion throughout history, controlling people's belief and faith without question. Is this a naivety or a sign of a higher understanding? Throughout the paintings, Fickling plays on our beliefs in these objects and knick-knacks, testing and pushing our understanding of these belief systems.
What of the rulers of this New World Order? In a world where humans are rare and in hiding, the machines are able to thrive, their intelligence now far outstripping ours. But what is the role of a machine in today's world? This is what is at the core of Davey's mechanical works, having the distinct mark of being handmade and imperfect, not attributes we often associate with a machine. Neither do we think of a machine as being delicate and sensual, even sexual, as machines are ordinarily built with a function in mind. The machines on show force us to question these notions, as they display and repeat their tongue in cheek sexually charged actions. We find ourselves with a feeling of anxiety and are left uncomforted by their seemingly functionless being and their worryingly close relationships with light bulbs and steel. Is it possible for a machine to be perverted? Or can a machine only ever be just that: a machine?
This show explores these ideas and relationships of a New World Order, and of something coming to an end whilst something else is just beginning. Aaron Fickling and Mark Davey explore the vast feeling of post life or being, something that is almost impossible for each of us to comprehend although being so widely studied and considered all around the world. Perhaps this show is more Hollywood than it is philosophical, but that doesn't mean it's any less likely to happen. To consider our future is not just the job of film directors, philosophers or religions, it is for believers. And after all, we all believe in something, don't we?
This exhibition is presented in partnership with Artsaft (for more information visit www.Artsaft.com)