So, it happened…and it’s happening. This week, on Wednesday 29th March, Theresa May enactedArticle 50 and officially started the two-year stopwatch on the UK’s withdrawal from Europe. Responses across London’s art scene? Take a guess.
World famous Anish Kapoor – amidst his ongoing (VantaBlack vs BLACK 2.0) feud with Stuart Semple – has in recent months remained in the forefront voicing his Brexit Blues, and at Lisson Gallery this week unveiled his visceral new sculptures. But while Kapoor had already told The Art Newspaper that he found the UK’s departure from the EU “heartbreaking”, he was also keen to stress that even though his works might chime with the mood of the day, they did not refer to it. “I hate Trump and I hate Brexit and they are around my life and my work, but they are not what the work is about,” he said.
Neither was the mood lost on the artist Jeremy Deller and the activist and Creative Time curator Nato Thompson, who had come together to discuss Thompson’s latest book, Culture as Weapon: the Art of Influence in Everyday Life, at an event hosted by a/political in south London. Among the audience coming together to hear about Thompson’s book—which explores the ways culture has been co-opted to tap into our emotions by governments and businesses worldwide—were the artists Oscar Murillo, Franko B, and Anjalika Sagar of the Otolith Group; the South London Gallery director Margot Heller; Creative Time director Katie Hollander; and Artangel’s directors James Lingwood and Michael Morris.
Pictured above with a work by Russian artist and provocateur Andrei Molodkin, a sculpture that pumps crude oil through a container spelling out the words “FUCK YOU”, Thompson and Deller together analysed the relationship between advertising, media, art and politics – a conversation that could not be more relevant to the current status quo – both here in the UK and on the other side of the pond.