‘Something Is Not Quite Right’ brings together a number of seminal works from Shaw’s oeuvre including the sculptural installation ‘Defending Integrity From The Powers That Be’, an early version of which featured in the 2017 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. The work consists of two seven foot figures made from old clothes stitched onto steel framework. The figures stand on rockers which are animated so that they move back and forth. The mouths of the figures are stuffed with cash and gagged with stocking. The work shed’s light on how compliance can be bought; proposing that silence often has a price to it.
Additionally, part 1 of the exhibition will premiere a new work based on the archaic practice of ‘tarring and feathering’. Once common place as a form of public humiliation, the act was frequently used to enforce vigilante justice or revenge in Northern Ireland particularly in the 1970’s. The work will be completed in-situ, responding directly to the space and confines of the gallery.
Furthermore, a series of maquettes for Shaw’s ‘Soul Snatcher Possession’ will be shown at Anima-Mundi ahead of the full-size installation being shown at The Exchange. The work is about the manipulation of truth to suit the needs of the powerful.
Part 2 of the exhibition will be presented by The Exchange in Penzance from February 2018. The larger than life, looming figures from ‘Soul Snatcher Possession’ will be exhibited within the confines of an enclosed space alongside Shaw’s immersive installation ‘Mother The Air Is Blue The Air Is Dangerous’ which was first produced and exhibited by the Kappatos Gallery Athens and subsequently shown at the F E McWilliam Gallery, Northern Ireland. The installation is a deeply personal work which offers a fascinating and visceral insight into Shaw’s traumatic experience as a child growing up in Belfast when he and his mother were caught in an IRA bombing. In Shaw’s words “It recalls that what happened then is all too familiar now in today’s terrorized world.”
This is the first time such an extensive body of Shaw’s work has been exhibited. ‘Something Is Not Quite Right’ underplays what is a palpable atmosphere of fear and vulnerability, where the viewer is viscerally compelled to examine their own complicity and compliance. Shaw propositions us to examine our personal freedom, and ask greater questions of those who wield power and the means by which they continue to do so.
Shaw will be following these two shows with an exhibition in the autumn of 2018 at San Diego Museum of Art, USA.