This is artist Laura Oldfield Ford's sardonic dig at the gentrification - or yuppification - of urban life, using a combination of pseudy Socialist Realism and Special Offer stamps. It's hilarious.
Oldfield Ford is an East London Warrior Princess who expresses Class War by depicting - according to the Tate Britain website (sic) - dystopian scenes, class conflict and urban ruins using ballpoint pen, fluorescent spray paint and acrylic.
Ford's work is in part motivated by what she sees as an absence of herself and other people's selves in the development and regeneration plans of cities - “I’ve looked into the future and I can’t find myself ANYWHERE.”
And she reserves special blame for the real estate sector - in the following work, St Modwen Properties, a company involved in bringing forward some key development sites in the UK:
Now all of this dystopian stuff is sexy in its counter-cultural-biro-ness. It chimes well with a view of the U.K. as Broken Britain, sits pretty in an age of post-apocalyptic nihilism - for another view, see Russian artist Vladimir Manyuhin's visions of a decayed world - and is a miserabilist drone that syncs well with the retro bits of people's iTunes playlists - in my case, the greatest, angriest hits of Crass and Part Chimp.
But hold on! WAKE UP!
In an age of huge public sector deficits, private sector investors are not the villains but the cavalry.
We need to Make Poverty History, not update and adapt Europe After the Rain by Max Ernst - one of the greatest works of twentieth century art.
What's more, there have been tremendous advances in recent years - for instance in new media technology and online urban advocacy - that enable people to start to call a city or place their own, rather than simply become the thirteenth tribe of urban renewal, The Deleted.
These advances fly past Ford's view of urban life: a comic/zine aesthetic that's ticklish, needs to be noticed since it's the tip of an exciting neo-punk thing but in the end is only for folks with fetishes for images of war-damaged Chechnya or those nice yellow Bic biro ballpoint pens that used to snap and leak in your pocket.More on Oldfield Ford's work:
- Podcast of the artist talking about her view of the city and the apocalyptic painting of John Martin - a Tate Conversation Piece - can be downloaded from iTunes (December 2009)
- More images of the artist's work available at sjrobertson at flickr.com (March 2009)
- Article on Oldfield Ford's work in Frieze
magazine (February 2009)
- The artist has a website and publishes a zine called Savage Messiah. (But both websites down at time of writing.)