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Scott King, The Trial Continues

Bortolami Gallery
510 West 25th Street, 212-727-2050
June 24 - August 22, 2008
Reception: Tuesday, June 24, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Also presenting, in the viewing room, photographs by: RYAN FOERSTER

Scott King’s work is blunt, in a subtle way. He takes the visual economy of postmodernist consumerism to a tipping point of aggressive clarity, where it starts cannibalizing itself as a paradoxical form of affirmative self-reflection. Proclaiming the Death to the New, King puts an end to the Fordist phantasma of eternal progress and ushers in the confused and confusing Age of the Bastard.

It is, however, not only Jeff causing an op-art disaster by accidently spilling his over-sugared coffee into the server of an open-plan office, but rather the general field of political oppositions structuring the realm of the social that is thrown into turmoil. George W. Bush might have only figured as a temporary catalyst delineating the force fields for a brief historical moment until the boundaries of political conviction fade away again in the opaque fogs of contemporary reality. When the culture of protest turns into a mere wish for clarity its forms are emptied out as free floating signifiers. Singing louder might be of help. Or rather the coffee in the server?

We could also try to look back and exhume Karl Marx in the guise of Roy Wood, the lead-singer of the completely forgotten and totally unimportant Glam-Rock formation Wizzard. While Roy today heads the Roy Wood Big Band, others draw into doubt that Marx is to be personally held responsible for the historical incarnations of state socialism. In the meantime, the totem of Karl Wood or Roy Marx might not only serve as confused archive of popular subject positions 40 years ago, but also as a historical analogy highlighting the fact that political opposition not only grants clarity, but also holds the promise of a fair share of glamour rubbing off on one’s life as a renegade. Just like Che on a T-Shirt, whose likeness remains the most often reproduced image until today. When the revolutionary gestures of the former left become hollow, it might be about time to start thinking about the royalties to be gained. Or, from a slightly different angle, when politics turn into a pose, the pose becomes political.

Scott King’s work is governed by the idea of a viral aesthetics of the parasitic. He works from inside the system, making use of the organs of the host in order to bring it down with its own means. Following in the footsteps of situationist image politics and the graphic heritage of punk, King amalgamates the signifiers of our contemporary mediascapes in bastardized icons that celebrate the disease of their own origin. The question to be asked is less who or what we vote for, but rather how to cause an affray of words and images that raises the stakes of our contemporary confusion.
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