Friday, 20 August 2010

Central Station blog chat: Mike Kelley

Mike Kelley, Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene)

Please consider if there is an artist whom you instinctively regard as ‘yours’ and, if you are so inclined, submit a short text (a paragraph approx) detailing the relationship you have, and have had, with this artist and their work.

The artist who’s had the biggest influence on me over the past 10 years has been the American artist Mike Kelley. In 2000 I visited the Royal Academy’s Apocalypse show in London and saw an installation by Kelley titled ‘Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene)’. It was a darkened stage set featuring a room with a bed and an oven. On a monitor in the corner a play was shown that used this same room with two high school students performing an absurd psychosexual narrative , all overacted to the point of hysteria. It was camp, tragic and hilarious and it was also a kind of epiphany for me. Shortly after that I went and bought his Phaidon monograph and took that along to the Fine Art course at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee where I produced a lot of art that bore his influence, both directly and indirectly. In 2002 he released a book called Foul Perfection: Essays and Criticism and that still influences my art writing too. What I get from him is the notion that raunchiness, irony and complexity can coexist happily. I also share his deep mistrust of the entertainment industry in general, and identify with his declaration of being an avant-gardist. Maybe that’s idealistic and romantic but I think it’s beautiful.

Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (Domestic Scene) on UbuWeb

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