Sunday, February 7, 2010

New MacGarry exhibition

It is not often that a photograph of an animal in a rather uncomfortable position and with manmade accoutrements attached to its body gets me all excited but when it comes accompanied by a very comprehensive press release, written by Michael MacGarry, for his up and coming exhibition then I am gripped by a frisson of anticipation. The title of the exhibition does sound like a statement fashioned by an angst-ridden teenager eschewing the society he has been born into: THIS IS YOUR WORLD IN WHICH WE GROW, AND WE WILL GROW TO HATE YOU (must be in upper case for impact). One can almost see it spray-painted across a wall in a schoolyard. And in a sense MacGarry is rallying against a corrupt system or at least is once-again pondering the shady mechanics of political ascendancy. This is not modern-day protest art; based on the statements that Avant Car Guard made around resistance art in their last exhibition I don’t think MacGarry believes in the transformative function of art: art can question systems but not shift their impetus. I have to say that I agree with this viewpoint.  This rather chilling quote from Jean-Luc Godard, Weekend, 1967, which is included in MacGarry’s press release, articulates the lack of agency that the artist experiences and speaks of the only available route an artist can take: 

"I said to myself, what is the good of talking to them?
If they buy knowledge, it is only to resell it.
They want cheap knowledge to sell at a profit.
They want nothing which would stand in the way of their victory.
They don't want to be oppressed, they want to oppress.
They don't want progress, they want to be first.
They will submit to anyone who promises them they can make the laws.
I wondered what I could say to them.
I decided it was that."