I have started writing for the excellent and visually punchy magazine ELEPHANT. You can see material from my picture essay on SEX for Issue 34 below, plus that for COMEDY in Issue 33 below, including some unpublished material - you always need the odd reserve for such items. Meantime, Issue 35 is just out, which includes my choices for the theme of ANGST.
Sarah Lucas: Angel, 2016 - beer can penis with wings
Sarah Lucas has various ways of making penises - not just, she's said, because she hasn't got one, but for reasons of 'voodoo, economics and totemism'. The simplest squash two beer cans together to construct a near-tautological male package through a stereotypical symbol of the male. Here Lucas builds on that suggestion of an old-fashioned evening down the pub using her more recent and differently double-edged signature material of cigarettes. Given that they form wings, conjuring and poking fun at the classical sacred phallus and the tradition of the unsexed angel, her bawdiness gets quite complex.
Annie Attridge: Should of Could of Would of, no. 7, 2016 - porcelain, tin glaze, concrete pillar - porcelain 17 x 10 x 6cm
Form follows function in young German photographer Bastian Gehbauer's cool depictions of little-seen spaces in which processes take place: a pink-lit greenhouse, an automated crematorium, and this garage of sorts - literally a 'performance box' - designed to allow sexual services to be provided more safely in cars. The set-up, he explains, enables the prostitute to flee the passenger seat on the right in case she is threatened, whereas it is almost impossible for the driver to open his door. An emergency button is also located in almost every unit. The property has a generous fence and is opened and closed by the regulatory authority every day in accordance with its 'business hours'.
Extension to cover Frieze New York, 2018:
|Daniel Firman's elephant balancing on its trunk was a bit too obvious for the comedy article, though the horizontal wall-sucking version is less well-known... (Nasutamanus, various versions since 2008)|
ELEPHANT: COMEDY Issue 33
Martin Creed: Work No. 2814, 2017
China’s leading new media artist, Cao Fei, set domestic vacuum cleaning robots free to roam a building site on the fringes of Beijing on which – as is the Chinese rule - the structure of the past was being pulled down. The bots come across as alien and threatening yet friendly and comical. Sometimes chickens stand on them to hitch a ride. Evidently, and metaphorically, their ‘cleaning’ task is hopeless: there’s no reversing the rolling cycles of urbanisation. In front of the film, to stress the point, three bots acted out their edge-sensitive dance on top of the traditional form of plinths.
James Hopkins: Scaled Ladder, 2014 - Wood and Stone
James Hopkins presents an implausible object, its spindly wooden slats bearing heavy rock to no apparent purpose. We’re tempted to seek a logic. Have the small rocks risen because they weigh less? It can’t be that, their density’s the same. Is it that the relative mass of a mountain as you climb it is echoed by the stones’ sizes as we imagine ascending the ladder? Meantime, the title puns on 'scale' as the act of climbing a summit, a fundamental concept of sculpture, and a reference to the diminishing size of the stones – and that brings out the resemblance to an abacus.