Celebrating the end of solitude and uncertainty, ‘Backstage Party’ responds to the oscillation of life and death, fear and hope, liberation and restrictions. The pandemic has shifted our perspectives in ways never imagined, our fear and yearning of human contact; old habits, consumption patterns and our relationship with ourselves and our environment. The reiteration and recalibration have led us to re-evaluate our own ignorance and values posed by society and the disparity that has dominated much of our energy and attention.
Curated by and in collaboration with Stems Gallery in Belgium, the exhibition questions the true costs of humanity, our reality, and the absurdity of our new future. Featuring works by Allison Zuckerman (USA, b.1990), Clément Poplineau (France, b.1991), Emma Webster (USA/UK, b.1989), Julien Boudet (France, b.1985), Léo Luccioni (France, b.1994), Paul Rouphail (USA, b. 1987) and Tyrrell Winston (USA, b.1985), the amalgamation of works reflects our shifting values and the constant struggle and dichotomy of choices we face as individuals and as collectives.
Playful and subversive, Julien Boudet juxtaposes luxury brands and counterfeit products to create obscure vignettes. The vernacular of works reveals the new norm of the fake and the real, where disinformation is our new truth. Boudet’s work crosses boundaries of visual culture, consumerism and hip-hop culture and their counter influence. Recontextualizing capitalist notions, Léo Luccioni’s commercial mantras ‘Forever Faster’ and ‘It’s In You’, lure us in his Garden of Eden where our judgment is put to test. Where man plays God, the Elstar apple cultivates freshness and deliciousness that tempts us into the forbidden fruit of spiritual materialism.
The notion of power converges through the works of Clément Poplineau, Allison Zuckerman and Tyrrell Winston.While Clément Poplineau’s Renaissance-like portrait of a French banlieue youngster questions the constructs of social hierarchies and class, Allison Zuckerman’s hybridized old master portrait plays parody on the male dominance art canon. The female tableaus painted by male masters are manipulated with mashups of digital imageries and pop culture references to reflect women’s shifting power in a new light. Where athletes and celebrities are contemporary symbols of power and living legends, Tyrrell Winston tells their stories through appropriation of their autographs, discarded objects and momentos. In ‘Canceled’, the ebb and flow of Mickey Mantle’s signatures and scrubbed out signatures embodies the baseball prodigy’s power and submission as fundamentals of the human psyche.
As we reach a new understanding and discernment of humanity, ‘Backstage Party’ welcomes a new era of hope and anticipation. In our anthropomorphic era exasperated by the absurdity of consumerism and capitalistic culture, Emma Webster’s contemporary landscape painting explore the dichotomous relationship of the digital and the natural worlds. Utilizing 3D modelling and virtual reality to create landscape dioramas, Webster’s work reflects the future of humanism, cycling back to questions of authority, of nature, man, and algorithms. In the chaos of this frantic world, Paul Rouphail’s work creates a new constant. Bringing awareness to the environment, his depiction of domestic setting breathes new life into traditional trompe l'oeil paintings in reference to Otis Kaye’s work from the 1930’s and 40’s, offering new interpretations of space and our relationship with it.