ROMAN VASSEUR, Mortar of Distribution, 2010
ROMAN VASSEUR, The Franchise: Urban Renewal Proposal. Installed as screen saver  , 2007
ROMAN VASSEUR, The Franchise: Urban Renewal Proposal. Installed as screen saver, 2010
ROMAN VASSEUR, The Comissioning Agency - Collage , 2010
ROMAN VASSEUR, Public private monument, 2010
ROMAN VASSEUR, Mortar of Distribution, 2010
ROMAN VASSEUR, Mortar of Distribution, 2010

Press Release

The Mortar of Distribution

The exhibition brings together works by Diann Bauer, Amanda Beech, Mikko Cannini, John Cussans, Jaspar Joseph-Lester, and Roman Vasseur to propose a politics of art after the fact of its principal social, spatial and political claim.

Current liberalisms and more or less traditional idealisations of art’s political power are regularly evidenced in claims that art can and must bind and focus us as a society; that it can and should make politics possible, and is the ‘stuff’ upon which the distribution of social forces and activity pivot. It is the political. This mythology of art’s politics as we know it, is enjoyed as a site of radical dispersal, difference and disagreement. However, and most problematically, it is this idealisation of difference that further solidifies the agency of the artwork as normative. The legacy of this problem creates new and exacting demands for art’s politics now, and is the site for The Mortar of Distribution. Without faith in art’s facility and without the trust of its implicit connection to the political, new assemblages of power are called for.

Identifying a common assertion embodied in these selected works: that they are contingent as and with channels, conduits, and capillaries of political power, the exhibition challenges and shifts rationalisations of art’s power to bring to bear new material operations. Here, the possibility that art is inadequate to politics is eliminated, as well as the hopes for a transcendence of politics itself. Instead, these works re-describe those compelling figures of ideality for a replenished cultural society in new materialities and dislocations. Images of social architecture, communalism and monumentality are played out in sharp monochromatic tones, collapsing the hard edges of documentary and science with equally aggressive fictions. The works re-deal and challenge the heroisation of ‘meaning’ itself in these new claims to their own objecthood.

The exhibition deliberately unites works whose operations shift focus from the intricacies of a philosophy of the image to the sensuality of materialism, embracing and elucidating a pleasurable and compelling violence. Intersecting large-scale installations with discrete close-up experiences, the curation capitulates to and expands upon the vertiginous experience of the works. The Mortar of Distribution collapses corporeality with theoretical matter, re-viewing and re-treating abstraction, image and form as objects to be reckoned with and for.

Curated by Matthew Poole