Tuxed Fucks and other curious outfits
4 September 7 October 2009
private view: Thursday 3rd September, 6-8pm
How is power represented? Carla Busuttil explores notions of power and authority in her paintings of world leaders, politicians and other influential figures. However, although some of her subjects may be recognizable, these are not direct portraits. Created over a period of six months, the works included in Tuxed Fucks and other curious outfits have been painted using thick blocks of colour to create outlines and masses that are suggestive, rather than illustrative, of public figures.
In her appropriation and reinterpretation of familiar visual imagery Busuttil's subjects are at once recognizable and yet unnerving. Her painterly technique challenges not only the authority of the classical portrait but also investigates power structures and how their mechanisms affect the individuals holding roles within them. Power, be it political, physical, financial, religious or societal, seems to require those who hold it to often adjust their behaviour, their dress or even their opinions. But these changes or shifts cannot be unproblematically regarded as evidence that power corrupts. In her paintings Busuttil is not seeking to unmask corruption, but rather to explore how and why power has the ability to change the person in question.
Looking at these public figures in their respective costumes we are also reminded that clothing is laden with cultural significance; the Queen's crown and sash become symbolic markers of status and hierarchy based in historical tradition rather than political authority. The uniforms worn by political and religious leaders have double purposes and effects: not only do they mask the wearer, they also face outward towards the viewer and as such, clothes and costumes convey identity, status, and in turn, power. The association of power with the display of an appropriately clothed body is then, deeply entrenched in our culture. How we engage with that system of power is just one of the questions posed by this exhibition.
Carla Busuttil studied at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, before attending the Royal Academy Schools from 2005 to 2008. She has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions, including Jerwood Contemporary Painters, 2009, and the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Show, 2006. Her work will be included in Newspeak: British Art Now, Saatchi Gallery at The State Hermitage Museum, from 27th Oct 2009. Tuxed Fucks and other curious outfits is Carla Busuttil's first solo exhibition.
For further details please contact Cece Faville.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7493 2488 Fax: +44 (0)20 7629 5732
Gallery opening hours: Mon - Fri 10am - 5.30pm, Sat 11am - 4pm