From December 4, 2005 to February 19, 2006, What Now, a group exhibition with Phil Collins, Jeremy Deller, Emma Kay, Scott King, Hew Locke, Vinca Petersen, Peter Saville, Gavin Turk, curated by Hilde Teerlinck.
The exhibition What Now curated for CRAC Alsace focuses on two specific aspects of contemporary art made in Britain. On the one hand, I wanted to illustrate the influence of music on the work of visual artists; on the other, I endeavoured to give some examples of artists who have a double career as graphic designers. In my opinion these crossover positions are characteristic of artists today.
An excellent example is Jeremy Deller's emblematic piece The History of the World, a wall drawing showing all possible links and connections between techno and brass bands, a piece in which high and low culture, electronic and folk music come together. His other piece, William Elliot Whitmore Live at Melancholy Ranch, consists of a limited edition of EPs recounting the artist's relationship with William Elliot Whitmore, a cult figure of British punk transformed into a nostalgic country singer.
Music is also a basic element in the art made by Vinca Petersen. She belongs to a generation who decided to be 'travellers', contemporary nomads, continuously crossing borders. Her lifestyle is dearly expressed in the photographs she takes during her trips and, like Deller, her personal experiences are closely linked to her way of making art.
Gavin Turk, renowned since he represented himself as Sid Vicious (a wax figure fitting for Madame Tussaud's), is another example. Taking British humour (Monty Python, Benny Hill, etc.) as a starting point, he manages to create an exciting remix by combining these references with our beloved Beuys, Warhol, Magritte or political icons like Che Guevara.
I personally believe it must be a drama to grow up as a kid called Phil Collins, even if it's your real name, it's like being Michael Jackson and having to constantly endure all sorts of bad jokes. Phil takes his revenge in an intelligent and elegant way, in works that explore the relationships people establish with their idols. The video shown in the Crac analyses the cult surrounding Morissey, the gay lead singer of The Smiths.
Hew Locke explores similar paths. His site-specific work created for the entrance hall of our arts centre could easily been interpreted as politically incorrect, yet it is a bitter-sweet comment on British society which brings to mind the famous cover of the Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen.
Peter Saville has contributed to the show with what I'd like to call an understatement, a very precise intervention after Mies van der Rohe's maxim "Less is more".
Emma Kay has a similar approach. All the information her works, which are very delicate and precise, contain lies behind their minimal shapes.
Scott King (who agreed to take part in the elaboration of this catalogue) can be considered one of the key figures in the exhibition. Many of his works reveal a precise analysis of the music industry, alongside that of contemporary graphic design.
Each artist was invited to create a number of pages for this catalogue, to illustrate their personal visions, while the art critics Vincent Pecoil and Michèle Robecchi were offered the possibility of contributing their comments to the publication.
What now was organised with the support of the British Council.