The exhibition And You Thought I Was Bad? finds Guy Oliver continuing his exploration of the relationship between comedy and tragedy within contemporary popular culture.
To do so he steps back into the recent past of the mid-2000s. Central to the show is a new film that examines the effects of the passing of time within individual and collective memory, the function of arts education institutions and the role of political protest within art. Oliver uses the memory of an unrealised artwork from his time as an undergraduate student in the mid-2000s as a starting point, and, assuming the role of a television arts presenter, returns to his former university to remake this long obsolete idea – a T-shirt bearing an image of Richard Nixon that aimed to satirise George W Bush and the events surrounding the Iraq war. Charting the surreal connections between art and mainstream politics through a form of mangled personal nostalgia, Oliver ruminates on American Presidential figures, the cultural significance of Johnny Cash and how the narrative of his own life has been intertwined with recent socio-political global events.