Feeling Cultured…

8 Jun

This afternoon I found myself passing through Birmingham City Centre with some time to kill, so slipped into the Ikon contemporary art gallery.

The beautiful Ikon building

The first exhibit I saw was by Tadasu Takamine, who is said to be one of the most thought-provoking Japanese artists.

Ikon’s exhibition is Takamine’s first in Europe and includes a selection of videos touching on sex, politics and sexual politics.

One piece that caught my attention was God Bless America, made in 2002.It is an acknowledgement of the global intrusion of American culture in the post-9/11 world.

“For eighteen days Takamine and his female partner lived in an entirely red room, filming themselves as they worked, ate, slept and had sex. In the resulting time-lapse footage we see them kick and punch a sculpture into being: a giant head, resembling George W. Bush, which continually sings God Bless America.

Another exhibit at Ikon was a series of paintings by John Salt. Salt was one of the first artists to exhibit at the original Ikon at the Bullring in 1965. Cars feature heavily in salt’s work, rooted from his upbringing in Birmingham, which is a city of car manufacture.

Many pieces in this exhibit are inspired by abandoned cars.

“Instead of reproducing images that promised a future of happy motoring, his works embodied the jolting violence of wrecked vehicles.The now redundant cars are symptomatic of a marginalised lifestyle, a world of shacks and trailer homes, locations far from the affluent metropolis. The overall effect jars, especially in an American landscape, which is also prone to idealisation in the popular imagination.


After walking through the exhibition I wondered into the resource room which is full of books and other reference material. The room is furnished with tables chairs and a window seat so people can sit, read and be inspired.

There is also a black board for people to leave their comments. I saw this as an opportunity to do a spot of guerilla marketing…

Micro Mini mod

I could be the next Banksy!

 

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